AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP DAY
American Citizenship Day is a public holiday celebrated on March 2 yearly in Puerto Rico. The day is commemorated to remember the day Puerto Ricans were given United States citizenship in 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act, which allowed Puerto Ricans to have statutory US citizenship.
HISTORY OF AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP DAY
Puerto Rico is located 1000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida in the Caribbean. Christopher Columbus first arrived on the island in the late 15th century, after which it was rapidly colonized by Spain, under whose rule they remained until the Spanish-American in 1898. At the time, Puerto Ricans were Spanish nationals.
The US invaded Puerto Rico during the war. Eventually, Spain ceded the island to America under the Treaty of Paris, after which the US acquired Puerto Rico alongside three other territories. Before the judicial system was formed to align with that of the United States, Puerto Rico was under the rule of the US military and other officials appointed by the US President.Spanish nationals born in Spain could choose to remain Spanish by making a formal declaration due to the unique nature of citizenship that existed at the time. Even though people born in Puerto Rico were US nationals, they had no “citizenship whatsoever recognized under international law or US municipal law,” as per Scholar John L.A. de Passalacqua. Due to this, many new Codes and Acts were being effected, albeit with minor changes. Later on, in 1917, the US Congress passed the Jones-Shafroth Act that granted Puerto Ricans born on or after 1898 US citizenship. This Act established statutory citizenship on US nationals of Puerto Rico and those who had returned from being absent during US acquisition. Although it faced numerous criticism and doubt, it remains in effect today. The Act was signed on March 2, and each year, on the same date, American Citizenship Day is celebrated as a public holiday in Puerto Rico, and all offices remain closed.