Tuesday, May 26, 2009

After all This Time.... Immigrants?

Several weeks ago, when the news was abuzz with the possibility of Sonia Sotomayor being an outstanding choice to replace outgoing Justice David Souter in the Supreme Court, I decided to remain in the sidelines and not comment or write about it. I kept a back seat and waited for further development and further development indeed it is. President Barack Obama has announced his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States.

It is not the nomination that has me finally writing, the news is abuzz again, but something else that caught my attention. A tweet that I read earlier in the day stated that if Sotomayor parents are from Puerto Rico how could they be called immigrants? Apparently, that is exactly what some in the media were saying. Well, Why does this not surprise me? I remember many years ago being asked if I was Mexican. When I replied with a "no" the response to my reply was "well, what's the difference". I also recall a time when asked about my nationality and responding that I was a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent. To this reply I was asked what and where is that? Now, I come full circle to the tweet and it all comes down to stereotypes and the uneducated (not always entirely their fault).

Immediately, since Sotomayor is of Puerto Rican descent then her parents must have immigrated to the U.S.
Mexicans, El Salvadorians, Dominicans and Ecuadorians, just to name a few, all immigrate and speak spanish so Puerto Ricans must immigrate also. Unbelievable... It was only 1898 when then Gen. Nelson A. Miles led an invasion into Puerto Rico. It was only the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 (over ninety years ago) that gave Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship and it has only been a commonwealth since 1952. These truths are as much a part of American history as they are Puerto Rican history but are never taught in the classroom. Hence, part of the reason for the ignorance.

In moving on, it is with great pride in seeing a Latina of Puerto Rican descent getting the nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. Sonia Sotomayor es....orgullo Boricua!

Now back to the sidelines to await a confirmation.

National Association of Hispanic Journalists press release: Avoid Confusion on Sotomayor


  1. I remember returning from a trip to Canada and on the U.S. side being grilled about when I came to this country. My passport stated that I was born in Puerto Rico. I was kept there for thirty minutes.
    Ironically, that was the weekend before 9/11.

  2. Your comment doesn't surprise me and I'm sure many have a story to tell. After all the years, it's a shame, I blame it on the lack of education about the relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. One that has been so intertwined yet left out of the classroom and history books.