Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Political Science

First Advisor

John Brigham

Second Advisor

Roberto Alejandro

Third Advisor

Agustin Lao-Montes

Subject Categories

Political Science


U.S. Puerto Rico relations have always been mystifying to countless U.S. citizens, due to inconsistent policies and judicial decisions from the United States. Puerto Ricans have no control over immigration, yet they can decide the future of the island nation. Puerto Rico is a nation under colonial rule. Paul R. Bras sistains the possibility of corporate recognition for the ethnic group as a separate nationality within an existing state evocative of the United States. The United States has treated Puerto Rico as foreign country nevertheless at times as domestic. Under U.S. law and jurisprudence Puerto Rico is not part of the United States but rather the island is a possession. The elctoral difference between the two major political parties is less than three percent. Non-native voters in the island can have the clout to decide the ultimate political status of the island. A key concern to the problem is who are considered non-native voters in Puerto Rico. Non-native voters are those who have not been born in the Puerto Rico nor have one of their parents born in the island. The exclusion is legally and politically achievable. There are many countries (Ex. East Timor) in the world, former colonies (Ex. Namibia), and previous U.S. territories (Ex. Hawaii) that serve as examples of exclusion. Voting rights in plebiscites are determined by law. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 1514, states that all powers have to be in the hands of the people of Puerto Rico. International law and policies sustain that the future political status of colonies is to be determined by the nation. Puerto Rico lacks representation in the U.S. Government. When this happens the unrepresented become a separate nation. William Appelman Williams stated thet "the principle of self determination when taken seriously ...means a ploicy of standing aside for people to make their own choices, economic as well as political and cultural." Under international las and policies of self-determination Puerto Rico can exclude non-native voters. Judicial precedents make this point very comprehensible.