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'Stop denying citizenship rights to people born in US territories'- Plaskett

- said Insular Cases decisions have established a racist & colonial legal framework
Delegate to Congress Stacey E. Plaskett recently led a letter to President Joseph R. Biden condemning the Insular Cases and calling on the administration to do the same and overturn the racist rulings that continue to negatively impact US territories today, a release from Ms Plaskett's office has made known. Photo: VIC

FREDERIKSTED, St Croix, USVI- Delegate to Congress Stacey E. Plaskett recently led a letter to President Joseph R. Biden condemning the Insular Cases and calling on the administration to do the same and overturn the racist rulings that continue to negatively impact US territories today, a release from Ms Plaskett's office has made known.

The Insular Cases, a series of Plessy-era Supreme Court decisions, established a racist and colonial legal framework that has denied the 3.6 million residents of US territories equal constitutional rights and left them structurally disenfranchised for nearly 125 years," the congresswoman said, according to her office.

Insular Cases 'racist'

She said in 2022 no one should be using the racist language from the Insular Cases to deny citizenship rights to people born in US territories. Not federal judges. And certainly not the Biden-Harris Justice Department," Ms Plaskett said. "That’s why I led my colleagues in Congress in sending a letter today urging President Biden and Vice President Harris to condemn the Insular Cases."

She added, “President Biden has made fighting for residents of the Virgin Islands and other US territories a priority. Last year, in speaking out against the denial of federal benefits in US territories, he declared, ‘there can be no second-class citizens in the United States of America.’ Yet the Biden-Harris Justice Department expressly relied on the Insular Cases last Fall to argue that people born in US territories have no right to US citizenship at all, that citizenship in US territories is a mere privilege for Congress to extend or retract at whim.

“The Biden-Harris Justice Department will soon have a chance to correct this error when it files its response in Fitisemanu v. United States, a case which asks the Supreme Court to answer, ‘whether the Insular Cases should be overruled.

'Biden administration must condemn Insular Cases'- Plaskett

“Leading civil rights organizations, scholars from across the ideological spectrum, and a bi-partisan group of elected officials and former judges from US territories are all calling on the Supreme Court to turn the page on the Insular Cases. And, even Supreme Court Justices appointed by both Democratic and Republican Administrations – Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch – have criticised the Insular Cases. If President Biden is serious about confronting systemic racism and fighting for the equality of all Americans, as he has promised, the Biden administration must condemn the Insular Cases and the Justice Department should call on the Supreme Court to finally reckon with this legacy.

With Fitisemanu v. United States, we can finally end the racist and colonial framework of the Insular Cases, correct a historical wrong, and advance equal rights under the Constitution for all American citizens. It is my fervent hope and prayer that the Biden Administration will choose to be on the right side of history and once and for all condemn and overturn these cases that have relegated a significant part of our US population to second-class citizenship.”

11 Responses to “'Stop denying citizenship rights to people born in US territories'- Plaskett”

  • E. Leonard (13/07/2022, 20:30) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    Concur that people born in the unincorporated territories of Puerto Rico, USVI, Northern Marianna Islands, Guam, and American Samoa should enjoy the same range of rights, privileges, benefits, etc, as people born in the contiguous US, and Alaska and Hawaii. It is important to note that people born in American Samoa don’t automatically enjoy birthright citizenship(jus soli); they are American nationals, not American citizens, unless at least one parent is an American. They have to apply for naturalization like other non-Americans. Moreover, territorial residents cannot vote in a general election for president from the territories, they don’t qualify for supplemental social security income(SSI), etc. They can and do serve on the military.

    The constitution provides for people to attain US citizenship through birthright citizenship (jus soli, right of the soli), or naturalization. On the other hand, people born in the territories save perhaps for American Samoa are American citizens which I think was attained through an act of Congress. I will take WAG that this issue will end up in the Supreme Court. And precedence and stare decisis is not carrying the weight in the current court as it did with past courts. Will the insulting, racist Insular Cases precedence be repeal?

    Attaining full rights for territorial residents will probably have an impact on the Electoral College and may require a constitutional amendment. However, a constitutional amendment is a heavy lift, requiring a 2/3 vote in the House, 2/3 vote in the Senate, and ratification of 3/4 of the states. Currently, the Electoral College consist of 538 electors, ie, 435 House Reps, 100 Senators, and 3 votes from Washington, DC.
    • Sambo (14/07/2022, 14:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      The insular cases are indeed racist, stipulating that territorial residents are “savages” and unworthy of the same rights as residents on the main land, Alaska and Hawaii. Shameful and racist. It is a separate and unequal affair that is condoned by the Supreme Court. I Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court under the doctrine “Separate but Equal” permitted racial serration. So USVI residents cannot vote for president, having no voting status in the House, etc. The President can send Virgin Islanders to war but cannot vote for president. The USVI have to live with Federal laws but has no voting privilege in either the House or Senate. The BVI too has live with UK actions but has no say as to whom serve as governor or has no representation in Parliament. Imperialism/colonialism lives on.
  • Don't understand. (13/07/2022, 20:52) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Don't know of any case of anyone born in the US being denied US citizenship. Ms Congress lady what happen to the bill you all bring up every 4 years just to get vote about Caribbean nationals entering the USVI without Visa. What's the status on that..?
  • asking for a friend (13/07/2022, 21:01) Like (1) Dislike (4) Reply
    Who ask her fir her opinion?
  • Secret Bear (14/07/2022, 00:02) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    You want the benefits but you don’t want to be a US state because you want to make your own laws. Make up your mind.
  • Really (14/07/2022, 07:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is who you all have represent the people. The question people need to ask is why the government made laws to separate the people when the Almighty Creator made us one. Divide and conquer. Division is what all governments are doing. They don't care about the people because it would have no homeless, and no poor people because the Almighty Creator gave us all resources so we didn't have to worry. The elites took everything and put all these wicked government puppets to govern us and take away all our Rights
  • guy hill (14/07/2022, 07:30) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Barack Onama once said that US Citizenship is not a fundamental right to those people born in US Territories. Still on the dam plantation, Invited to the party but not welcome.
  • BVI Love Coke (14/07/2022, 10:48) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
    Wait!! I from the BVI. I want to be a Belonger and also be a US citizen!
    How can I torment the USA people living in the BVI with crazy immigration and work permit laws - AND not get all those rights by just being born in St Thomas hospital!?
    By the way: thank you American People for using all that Coke! We make lots and lots of money in the BVI transporting it to you!
  • 'Stop denying belonger rights to people born in Virgin Islands' (14/07/2022, 12:45) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    How about that?

    When we treat persons born right HARE on Tortola, VG, JVD and Anegada decently, then we can complain about how the U.S. treats people born in the U.S...
  • Skin hot (14/07/2022, 13:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    That is Stacy the wifer tek it easy on her
  • Thomas Famous (14/07/2022, 20:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ayo still a colony.

    End of Story

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