Centro Library and Archives Historical Preservation and Research Partnership Program Fall 2016-Spring 2017

The Center for Puerto Rican Studies Library and Archives seeks Partners to collect, archival material, conduct research, and disseminate new knowledge about the history of Puerto Rican individuals in communities in the United States.

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Centro Library

Frequently Asked Questions

The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Identification and Documentation Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Puerto Ricans need an ID Card?
Puerto Ricans became citizens of the United States by Congressional mandate through the Jones Act of March 2, 1917. Although citizenship gave Puerto Ricans immediate residency and access to public services, many Puerto Ricans experienced difficulties demonstrating their status as U.S. citizens. Puerto Ricans did not need an ID card, but it became an extremely valuable document to prove U.S. citizenship.

What were some reasons why Puerto Ricans applied for an ID card?
In the 1950's, the Migration Division began to keep a log of individuals who requested their services and the purpose of their visit. There is no record of the reasons why individuals might have applied for an ID card before this time.

Categories from the D aily Registration log of the Migration Division April 17, 1954

The Daily Registration categorized the visits as follows:

  • To request documents
  • Identifications in English
    Coast Guard | Taxi Drivers | Cabaret License | To Travel | Personal Use
  • Interpretation & Orientation on . . .
    Delayed Registration of Birth | Legitimizations | Rectification of Names on Birth Certificates | Naturalizations | Derived Certification Of Citizenship | General Information and Orientation

Were all applicants from New York City?
The majority of individuals applying for an ID card were from New York City. The collection contains few applicants from other states particularly in the early years of the program.

Who can request documents using this site?
Relatives or friends who can verify their relationship to the applicant may request documents.

After I request a document, what are the next steps to obtain it?
An archivist will contact you within 2 weeks of your request to schedule an appointment at the Centro Archives. During your meeting with the archivist, you will have to verify your relationship with the applicant whose documents you are requesting. You will also fill out the "Petition of Reproduction" form to receive photocopies of the documents requeste