Department of English Department at admu.edu.ph
Thu Mar 4 10:37:19 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). 

Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Road, Loyola Heights,
Quezon City 1108 Metro Manila

More information about the Blueboard mailing list