Monday, May 30, 2011

Puerto Rico Residents American Citizens? Not According to PayPal or Patriot Act

Puerto Rico Residents American Citizens? Not...

by Natasha Puryear
May 29, 2011

PayPal's legal department refuses to issue PayPal debit cards to Puerto Rico residents stating that they do not have real Social Security numbers, and issuing the card would violate the Patriot Act. A PayPal customer, Tina Vasquez, who happens to be Puerto Rican and is visiting family for an extended stay in Puerto Rico, discovered the issue when she asked to have a new card issued after her original PayPal card was compromised.

The issue obviously isn't with Ms. Vasquez's Social Security number seeing as how a PayPal card was issued to her while living in the continental United States. The issue is the fact that PayPal's legal department does not consider Puerto Ricans full citizens although that right was granted by the government. American PayPal customers can have a debit card issued, but PayPal is refusing to issue an American citizen a card based on her current residence in an American territory.

The Patriot Act has caused this issue by refusing to allow banking institutions to operate in certain ways in American territories. This means residents of American Samoa and Guam also face discrimination based solely on their residence. The fact that the Patriot Act ostracized the same citizens it was written to protect goes to show just how unnecessary the law is. The Patriot Act topped recent news when it was discovered that President Obama did not sign the paperwork needed to keep the Act in force but had an autopen sign it for him.

It seems a little odd that residents of Puerto Rico are free to come and go from the mainland United States and pay taxes to the American government but are unable to operate as full citizens in the banking industry. Maybe its time to take another look at the Patriot Act and abolish it as anti-patriotic.