Trump’s goof-up over US Virgin Islands: What does it mean to be an unincorporated American territory?

Updated on Oct 14, 2017 04:42 PM IST
US President Donald Trump has made another gaffe by saying he spoke with the President of the Virgin Islands - a post he holds.
US President Donald Trump(AP Photo)
US President Donald Trump(AP Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

President Donald Trump goofed up on Friday, saying he had spoken to the ‘President’ of the US Virgin Islands, a post he holds.

Trump was referring to the governor of the US Virgin Islands, an unincorporated American territory. What does that mean? Read on:

US Virgin Islands is one of the five inhabited American territories; the others are: Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

People of these territories -- except some in American Samoa -- are US citizens. The US Supreme Court last year refused to modify a ruling by a lower court that preserved American Samoa’s status as the only overseas US territory without birthright citizenship. People from the about 55,000 American Samoans can claim citizenship if, at birth, they had a parent who was a citizen.

The people in these territories pay federal taxes such as social security and Medicare – but not federal income tax — and can freely travel within the US, according to an NPR report. “Much like states in the US, the territories also have their own governments and elect their own governors,” it says.

The territories do not have a vote in the Congress. They send a delegate each and have powers of a representative except voting rights.

According to the US Office of Insular Affairs, an unincorporated territory is an insular area in which the Congress has determined that only selected parts of the Constitution apply.

There are 13 unincorporated US territories. Other than the five inhabited territories, the regions are: Navassa Island, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll and Wake Atoll.

One US territory, Palmyra Atoll, is incorporated, with the US Congress applying the full corpus of the Constitution as it applies in the states. “Incorporation is interpreted as a perpetual state. Once incorporated, the territory can no longer be de-incorporated,” the US Department of the Interior says.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Tourists go through pre-departure formalities at the Sanya Phoenix airport as stranded holidaymakers prepare to leave the Covid-hit resort city of Sanya on Hainan Island in China. (Photo by Str/AFP)

    Global Covid deaths drop by 9%, Omicron subvariant BA.5 remains dominant: WHO

    The WHO said that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 continues to remain dominant worldwide, contributing nearly 70 per cent to all virus sequences shared with the world's biggest publicly available virus database. It added that other Omicron subvariants such as BA.4 and BA.2, appear to be decreasing in prevalence as BA.5 takes control.

  • A view of Hangzhou city in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. (AFP)

    First special business flight with over 100 Indian traders lands in China

    A special flight with 107 Indian traders landed in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou on Tuesday, carrying many who were stuck in India since 2020 despite business interests in China because of the restrictions imposed by Beijing on international travel to contain Covid-19. This particular group of Indian merchants boarded the special China Southern Airlines flight from New Delhi and landed in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, on Tuesday.

  • Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Mexican President proposes peace commission led by 3 leaders including PM Modi

    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning to submit a written proposal to the UN to create a commission, made up of three world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to promote a world truce for a period of five years, MSN web portal reported. The Mexican President proposed that the top commission should include Pope Francis, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and Indian PM Narendra Modi.

  • Chinese military helicopters fly past Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points from Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022. (AFP)

    In major policy shift, China says it will take Taiwan by force if necessary

    China on Wednesday, in only its third white paper on Taiwan since 1993 and the first after President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, said it will not “renounce” the use of military force to bring the self-governed island under its control as its armed forces concluded the largest ever exercises around the island but announced that it will conduct regular patrols in the region.

  • The new animal origin virus is in the same genus as the Nipah virus, and so far these cases have not been fatal or very serious. (Bloomberg File Photo/Representative image)

    New zoonotic virus found in China, 35 known cases of infection: Study

    A new animal origin virus, which could infect humans, has been discovered in two provinces in China, scientists from China and Singapore have said in a new study. At least 35 such cases have been recorded in eastern China's Shandong province and central China's Henan province, said the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on August 4.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now