Equally American Blog

  • Equally American: Protect Health Care Access in U.S. Territories

    Washington, D.C. -- Equally American issued the following statement today, after testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on protecting access to health care in U.S. territories:

  • Haaland Confirmation Important for U.S. Territories

    Washington, D.C. -- Equally American issued the following statement in response to the United States Senate confirming Deb Haaland to serve as Secretary of the Interior in the Biden-Harris Administration. The Department of Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy for the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands through its Office of Insular Affairs.

  • Members of Congress Press Biden DOJ For Equality in U.S. Territories

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Late yesterday, Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and twelve of his House colleagues sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking the Biden Department of Justice to stop defending federal statutes that arbitrarily deny equal treatment to U.S. citizens in the territories in a range of federal programs, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a vital safety net which protects low-income Americans who are aged, blind, or disabled from extreme poverty.

  • Biden DOJ Arguments Could Close Courtroom Doors to Voting Rights Challenges

    Tomorrow, the U.S. Department of Justice will argue before a federal district court judge in Reeves v. Nago that federal overseas voting laws that discriminate against residents of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands cannot be challenged in federal court and that the appropriate remedy for any constitutional violation would be to restrict rather than expand the right to vote. Reeves is a case brought by veterans and others living in Guam and the Virgin Islands who could vote for President and voting representation in Congress if they lived almost anywhere else in the world, including in a foreign country or even the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory less than a hundred miles from Guam. The March 5th hearing will be before Judge Jill Otake in Hawaii at 9 am Hawaii time (3pm in the Virgin Islands/Puerto Rico, 2pm East Coast, 11am Pacific, and 5am Guam time).

  • SCOTUS Puts Equality for Citizens in U.S. Territories on the Docket

    Earlier today the United States Supreme Court announced it will be reviewing a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that unanimously found it unconstitutional to deny low-income elderly, blind and disabled residents of Puerto Rico the same access to federal support enjoyed by other Americans living in the states and certain other territories. In United States v. Vaello-Madero, decided by the First Circuit last year, the United States is seeking to recover $28,081 in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments that Jose Luis Vaello-Madero, a low-income disabled American, received after moving from New York to Puerto Rico. Altogether, federal discrimination against residents of U.S. territories each year denies billions of dollars in critical support to the most vulnerable U.S. citizens in these areas. 

  • ABA Continues Supporting Equal Rights in U.S. Territories

    The American Bar Association has once again expressed its support for recognizing that U.S. citizens in the territories should be entitled to the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens anywhere. Earlier today the ABA’s House of Delegates passed a resolution, proposed by the Virgin Islands Bar Association, that supports recognizing the full application of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure to people and goods traveling between the U.S. territories and other parts of the United States.

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