The Reverend Al Sharpton has a nationally syndicated news program on MSNBC…where he reaches millions of television viewers every day. Unfortunately, Sharpton used this platform to state that, “people from Puerto Rico would all have to go back, if their parents are undocumented.”
Here is the video of that statement:
In other words, Al Sharpton believes that Puerto Ricans are not inherently U.S. citizens.
After 99 years of US citizenship (Puerto Ricans were made US citizens in March 1917, just in time for World War I) this is a truly astounding view.
Of course, Sharpton is entitled to his own ignorance. He worked long and hard for it. But when a television show reaches millions of viewers, it is important to correct any misinformation. Here now, for Sharpton’s benefit, is Citizenship 101.
4. When the 65th U.S. Infantry Regiment, aka the Borinqueneers, receives the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service, sacrifice, injury and death in three U.S. wars…then ALL PUERTO RICANS ARE U.S. CITIZENS.
5. When any Puerto Rican living in the U.S. mainland has the automatic right to vote in any and all U.S. elections, that is because ALL PUERTO RICANS ARE U.S. CITIZENS.
6. When even on the island, Puerto Ricans pay social security taxes, federal payroll taxes, U.S. import/export taxes, federal commodity taxes and Medicare taxes, that is because ALL PUERTO RICANS ARE U.S. CITIZENS.
7. There is no such thing as an “undocumented Puerto Rican,” because ever since 1917, ALL PUERTO RICANS ARE U.S. CITIZENS.
A TEACHABLE MOMENT
Sharpton’s statement about “undocumented Puerto Ricans” was absolutely ridiculous – but it does provide a teachable moment. The Reverend grew up in Brooklyn, a borough with 200,000 Puerto Ricans in it. He has been involved in New York City politics for the past 30 years – a city with 1 million Puerto Ricans in it.
After 60 years on this planet, surrounded by 1 million Puerto Ricans, Sharpton still doesn’t know that Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens for 99 years. That is a sad commentary on our public education system.
America needs to be clear about its citizens, in order to have a truly functioning and participatory democracy. We did not spend 99 years in the belly of this beast, to have some ignoramus ask us for “our papers.” We certainly don’t need this ignorance to be amplified on a national news program, to millions of TV viewers.
Both the Rev. Al Sharpton and MSNBC owe an apology to the Puerto Rican people.
All 8.6 million of them.
All of whom are U.S. CITIZENS.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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