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波多黎各是美国的一部分么?说起来很复杂

彭博社 2018年09月23日

出生于波多黎各和其他“岛屿地区”的居民比起出生本土的美国人,在政治影响和享受权利方面都不可同日而语。

2017年,台风玛利亚横扫波多黎各,美国的反应引发巨大争议,美国与这块遥远领土之间的关系也经受了考验。台风过后美国总统特朗普曾前往视察,但波多黎各抱怨之声未减,因为美国对待之前同受台风袭击的美国本土州明显更关注,救援也更慷慨。出生于波多黎各和其他“岛屿地区”的居民比起出生本土的美国人,在政治影响和享受权利方面都不可同日而语。

1.类似于波多黎各的美国海外领土有多少?

目前共有14个。其中波多黎各人口最多,其后是关岛、美属维京群岛、美属萨摩亚和北马里亚纳群岛。其他包括位于加勒比海的纳维萨岛、位于太平洋的贝克岛、豪兰岛、贾维斯岛、威克岛和中途岛,还有约翰斯顿岛、帕迈拉和金曼礁等环礁,要么无人居住要么人烟罕至。这些领土有些是1898年美西战争后西班牙割让(波多黎各和关岛),有些出资购买而来(维京群岛),有些得自吞并(威克岛),还有主动归属美国(北马里亚纳群岛)。

2.海外领地居民是不是美国人?

关岛、北马里亚纳群岛、波多黎各和美属维京群岛居民一出生便具有美国国籍。美属萨摩亚则不一样,父母至少有一人为美国人时才可获美国国籍。之所以此处特殊,是因为1900年美国法律有规定,在美属萨摩亚出生的人可获“国民”待遇,而不是公民。

3.海外领地居民也缴纳联邦税么?

缴纳一部分。跟本土50州的居民一样,海外领地居民工资收入也有一部分用来支持社会保障退休系统和老年医疗健康系统。除某些例外情况,他们也要缴纳联邦营业税、赠与税和遗产税。个人所得税也要缴纳,但通常交给本地政府,不用上交国库。

4.海外领地居民可享受联邦福利项目么?

跟纳税类似,也是一部分。一般而言,海外领地的美国公民可享受社会保障和医疗保险。退伍军人的利益也很重要,因为海外领地向来为美国军队贡献了很多力量。其他联邦福利则情况各有不同。五个有人常住的岛上,只有北马里亚纳群岛居民可获得简称SSI的补充保障收入,为某些老年人、盲人和残疾人提供现金补助。(除美属萨摩亚外,其他地区居民也可获得类似补助。)只有波多黎各和维京群岛居民可获得失业补偿金。关岛、波多黎各和维京群岛参加了称为贫困家庭临时援助的联邦福利计划。美属萨摩亚未参与,北马里亚纳群岛则不具参与资格。

5.海外领地的美国公民有资格投票选举总统么?

算是有。四年一次的大选中,波多黎各、关岛、美属维京群岛、美属萨摩亚和北马里亚纳群岛的居民举办预选会、初选或代表大会,协助选举共和党和民主党候选人,但随后11月的大选中无权投票。之所以存在差异,因为美国法律虽然规定了大选投票权,但两党可选择何时何地举行初选和预选会议。

6.美国议会里,海外领地是否有代表?

波多黎各和其他地区跟哥伦比亚特区一样,在美国众议院各有一席位。代表可以在众议院发言,提出法案,提出修正案并在委员会投票,但集体表决时无投票权。海外领地和哥伦比亚特区在参议院均无代表。

7.如此安排是否公平?

取决于看待的角度。总部位于华盛顿的团体We the People Project就曾提交诉讼,要求为偏远领土和首都特区争取同等的公民权和投票权。“不管公民在本土州、海外领地还是华盛顿特区生活,应该享受同样的基本公民权。”该团体表示。但美国法院一直不愿赋予海外领地公民与本土公民同样的政治权利。

8.这点重要么?

波多黎各确实可能在华盛顿争取到更高地位。2017年9月的大选中,只有半数美国人知道波多黎各人出生便具有美国国籍。知道该点的人里,81%支持提供援助,而认为波多黎各不属于美国的人里只有44%支持援助。

9.海外领地想变成美国的州么?

只有波多黎各存在该问题,飓风前其人口约为330万,超过美国21个州。(不过飓风后成千上万波多黎各人移民别处,人口数量出现下降。)但并非所有人都认为成为美国的州是好事。波多黎各曾举行五次不具约束力的公民投票,讨论是否应争取变成美国的州。前三次赞成和反对票各一半,2017年6月的最新一次投票中反对党占优。部分波多黎各人支持变成州,部分人希望维持现状,还有一些人支持从美国独立出去。

10.波多黎各会变成美国的一个州么?

最终要看美国国会的决定,估计波多黎各想成为美国第51个州的最大障碍就是美国国会。让事情更复杂的是,波多黎各可能支持民主党执掌议会并担任总统,台上的共和党显然不会乐意。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

 

Hurricane Maria’s ravaging of Puerto Rico in 2017, and lingering controversy over Washington’s response, tested the quirky ties between the U.S. and its far-flung territories. A post-storm visit by President Donald Trump did little to calm complaints in Puerto Rico that Washington exhibited less urgency and generosity than it did toward U.S. states struck by earlier hurricanes. Those born in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, or “insular areas,” have less political input and representation than residents of U.S. states.

1. How many U.S. territories are there?

There are 14 currently. Puerto Rico is, by far, the most populated, followed by Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. The others, either uninhabited or barely populated, are Navessa Island, in the Caribbean Sea; and, in the Pacific Ocean, islands named Baker, Howland, Jarvis, Wake and Midway, atolls named Johnston and Palmyra, and Kingman Reef. The territories were ceded by Spain after the Spanish-American War in 1898 (Puerto Rico and Guam), purchased (Virgin Islands), annexed (Wake Island) or chose to associate with the U.S. (Northern Marianas).

2. Are residents of territories American citizens?

U.S. citizenship is granted automatically upon birth in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The rule is different in American Samoa, where citizenship is conveyed only to those who have at least one American citizen as a parent. That anomaly is the result of a 1900 U.S. law that says persons born in American Samoa will be considered “nationals,” not citizens.

3. Do U.S. territories pay federal taxes?

They pay some taxes, not all. Like residents of the 50 states, residents of U.S. territories have money withheld from their paychecks to support the Social Security retirement system and the Medicare program for elderly health care. They’re also, with some exceptions, subject to U.S. federal business, gift and estate taxes. They pay income tax, but generally only to the territory, not to the federal treasury.

4. Do they get the benefit of federal entitlement programs?

Again, some but not all. Social Security and Medicare are, generally speaking, available to American citizens in U.S. territories. So are veterans’ benefits, which are important because territories have a history of service in the U.S. military. The situation with other federal benefits is a hodgepodge. Of the five territories, only Northern Mariana Islands residents are eligible for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, which provides cash assistance to certain elderly, blind and disabled people. (The other territories, except for American Samoa, are eligible for U.S. grants to help them provide similar assistance.) Only Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands can access U.S. unemployment compensation benefits. And only Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands participate in the federal welfare program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; American Samoa chooses not to, and the Northern Mariana Islands isn’t eligible.

5. Can American citizens in U.S. territories vote for president?

Sort of. In an electoral curiosity that reemerges every four years, the residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands hold caucuses, primaries or conventions to help choose the Republican and Democratic nominees — but then can’t vote in the general election in November. The discrepancy is explained by the fact that while U.S. law dictates who can vote in the general election, the two parties choose where and when to hold primaries and caucuses.

6. Are the territories represented in the U.S. Congress?

Puerto Rico and the other territories, like the District of Columbia, each get to send one delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. That delegate can speak on the House floor, introduce legislation, offer amendments and vote in committees — but can’t vote on matters that come to a full House vote. In the Senate, territories and the District of Columbia have no representation at all.

7. Is that really fair?

That depends on your point of view. A Washington-based group, We the People Project, filed lawsuits seeking to extend full citizenship and voting rights to all residents of U.S. territories and the nation’s capital. “Whether one lives in a state, a territory, or D.C., our basic rights as citizens should be the same,” the group says. But U.S. courts have consistently disagreed that U.S. citizens in territories automatically deserve the full rights of U.S. citizens in the 50 states.

8. Does this matter?

It might, in terms of Puerto Rico getting a fair deal in Washington. In a September 2017 poll, only about half of Americans knew that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth. Of those aware, 81 percent said they support aid, compared with only 44 percent among those who think Puerto Ricans are foreigners.

9. Do the territories aspire to become U.S. states?

That’s really a question only in Puerto Rico, since its pre-hurricane population of roughly 3.3 million made it bigger than 21 U.S. states. (Though the post-hurricane migration of hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans only accelerated the island’s ongoing net loss of people, however.) Not everybody there sees statehood as a good thing. Puerto Rico has held five non-binding referendums on whether to seek statehood; the first three showed residents evenly split, and the latest, in June 2017, was marred by a boycott by opposition political parties. While some in Puerto Rico support statehood, and others like the status quo, there are also some who support independence from the U.S.

10. Could Puerto Rico become a state?

Ultimately that’s up to the U.S. Congress, which would be expected to put a very high bar on creating a 51st U.S. state. One complication: Puerto Rico would likely support Democrats for Congress and the presidency, an unpalatable prospect for the Republicans now in control in Washington.

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