The Jones Act of 1917 naturalized Puerto Ricans as United States citizens. However, this citizenship has created contradictions, as Puerto Ricans often still feel that they are only half US citizen and half foreigner. This is evident in both legal and cultural ways that can create confusion in the Puerto Rican identity.
One example of a legal contradiction exists in the democratic, presidential voting process—a freedom seen internationally as a pillar of American identity and society. Puerto Ricans who live in the territory of Puerto Rico are not allowed to vote in the presidential election despite being citizens. However, Puerto Ricans who live in any of the fifty states can vote in the election.
One example of distinct foreigner sentiment, as seen by both Puerto Ricans and Americans, can be seen in the controversial disaster relief response of the US government after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Many have argued that the United States' response to the disaster was not as great as it would have been had the hurricane impacted citizens of the mainland US—despite the fact that Puerto Ricans are US citizens. A recent Harvard study found that 4,645 died as a direct or indirect result of the storm. Many of these deaths occurred after the storm had passed.