Department of English doe at admu.edu.ph
Fri Feb 27 15:28:46 PHT 2004





Reconstituting Americans in the Philippines
"Within the Revenue Clause"
Valmonte v. INS (1998)

The lecture explores the issues and implications of the Valmonte v INS case 
for Filipinos and American "nationals" past and present.  Decided by the 
Second Circuit in 1998, Valmonte v INS involves a Filipino plaintiff, born 
during the Philippine Commonwealth era, who claimed automatic U.S. 
citizenship based on the equal protection and citizenship clauses of the 
14th amendment extending to the territory.  The Constitutional tensions 
inherent in the creation of the "unincorporated territory" at the turn of 
the century are revisited domestically in this immigration case.  In this 
and other immigration cases involving native Filipinos born during the 
territorial period, the Courts have always deferred to Congressional 
plenary powers on questions of immigration and citizenship. The Philippines 
and other US territories may be found right in the beginning of the 
Constitution in Article I, Section 4, after a semicolon "within the revenue 
clause": "but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout 
the United States."  In truth, the Philippines exists in the erasure and 
disappearance of this clause in decisions involving Filipinos born during 
the US Territorial period claiming their right to citizenship.  Court 
decisions have relied on this clause and its displacement to effectively 
suspend and cast the Filipino's citizenship status at bay--outside the 
American family. Recent legal scholarship on citizenship and U.S. resident 
subject's rights has begun to explore limits the Constitution places on 
these powers and definitions of alien, citizenship and national.  The 
courts have tended to appeal to Downes v Bidwell, one of the Insular Cases, 
involving a revenue clause to interpret the 14th Amendment citizenship 
clause.  The judicial branch has not performed its duty to review 
Congressional action on citizenship for nationals, and neither has it 
addressed the meaning of the citizenship clause of the Amendment "in these 
United States" to include "the United States of America, Philippine 
Islands" during the colonial period.

5 March 2004, Friday
4:30-6:00 P.M.
Conference Room
Horacio Dela Costa Bldg. G/F

Dr. Allan Isaac is Assistant Professor of English at Wesleyan University in 
Connecticut. He teaches courses in American Studies, Law, Race and 
Literature, Asian American and Postcolonial Studies. He is currently a 
Fulbright U.S. Scholar in Manila and a Visiting Professor at De La Salle 
University. His forthcoming book is entitled American Tropics: U.S. 
Imperial Grammar and the American Postcolonial Imagination (University of 
Minnesota Press).

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