Statehood

For 104 years, the people of Puerto Rico have been proud American citizens. Since the Island became a U.S. territory in 1898, over 235,000 Puerto Ricans have honorably served our Nation in the U.S. Armed Forces.
 
 
Yet, due to the current territory status, the 3.3 million Americans in Puerto Rico lack full voting representation in Congress and cannot vote for their Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States. Moreover, as a territory, the federal government can—and often does—treat Puerto Rico unequally under federal laws and programs that are crucial to combat poverty and promote economic development. Simply put, the territory status has constrained Puerto Rico’s ability to prosper and denies citizens on the Island the same rights and responsibilities as their fellow citizens in the 50 States. However, there is a clear solution to this problem: full equality, which can only be achieved through statehood. And voters in Puerto Rico agree.
 
 

A Fight for Equality

Under the slogan “Fighting for Equality and Democracy for our Fellow Americans,” on March 2nd, 2021 a group of 46 members in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Puerto Rico's sole representative in Congress, Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR) and Florida Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL), introduced legislation to lay the groundwork for Puerto Rico's admission as a state of the Union. H.R. 1522, the Puerto Rico Admission Act, currently have 69 cosponsors. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) is leading similar efforts in the U.S. Senate and introduced a companion bill, S.780.

 

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Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act

H.R.1522 is a direct response to the third consecutive mandate for statehood, as democratically expressed by voters on the Island. 

 
What does the legislation establish?
 
  • The bill requires the President of the United States to notify to the Governor of Puerto Rico once the “Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act” is enacted into law. The bill further requires that the Governor, within 30 days of being notified of the Act’s enactment, issue a proclamation for the election of Puerto Rico’s Senators and Representatives in Congress.
 
  • The Governor of Puerto Rico must call for an election in which voters will ratify their desire for admission into the Union as a State. 
 
  • Specifically, voters in Puerto Rico will be asked the following question: “Shall Puerto Rico immediately be admitted into the Union as a State, in accordance with terms prescribed in the Act of Congress approved ………. (date of approval of this Act)?:Yes _____ No _____.” A similar question was posed to voters in Alaska and Hawaii following the enactment of their respective admission acts.
 
  • Should a majority of the votes cast in the above-mentioned ratification election approve of statehood, the President of the State Elections Commission of Puerto Rico shall certify the results and transmit them to the Governor. The Governor will then have 10 days to transmit the results to the President of the United States, the President pro-tempore of the U.S. Senate, and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
 
  • Upon receiving the Governor’s notification, the President of the United States will be required to issue proclamation declaring certified the results for statehood and declaring the date upon which Puerto Rico will be admitted as a State, which must occur no later than 12 months after the results have been certified. Upon issuance of this presidential proclamation, Puerto Rico shall be deemed admitted into the Union as a State.

 

  • Should a majority of the votes cast in the ratification election reject statehood, however, the entire Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act shall cease to be effective and Puerto Rico will elect its congressional delegation. 

 

March 2, 2021: Congress responds to Puerto Rico’s call for Statehood

Press Conference: Introduction of the Puerto Rico Statehood Admision Act 

 


Bipartisan Support: Republicans and Democrats Support Statehood for Puerto Rico 

Currently, 69 members of Congress from both partes cosponsor H.R. 1522.

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Sponsor: Rep. Soto, Darren [D-FL-9] • Cosponsors:  Resident Commissioner Gonzalez-Colon, Jenniffer [R-PR-At Large]* • Rep. Murphy, Stephanie N. [D-FL-7]* • Rep. Young, Don [R-AK-At Large]* • Rep. Torres, Ritchie [D-NY-15]* • Rep. Diaz-Balart, Mario [R-FL-25]* • Rep. Raskin, Jamie [D-MD-8]* • Rep. Bacon, Don [R-NE-2]* • Rep. Bera, Ami [D-CA-7]* • Rep. Bilirakis, Gus M. [R-FL-12]* • Rep. Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [D-GA-2]* • Rep. Boyle, Brendan F. [D-PA-2]* • Rep. Carbajal, Salud O. [D-CA-24]* • Rep. Carson, Andre [D-IN-7]* • Rep. Castor, Kathy [D-FL-14]* • Rep. Correa, J. Luis [D-CA-46]* • Rep. Crist, Charlie [D-FL-13]* • Rep. Demings, Val Butler [D-FL-10]* • Rep. Deutch, Theodore E. [D-FL-22]* • Rep. Evans, Dwight [D-PA-3]* • Rep. Foster, Bill [D-IL-11]* • Rep. Frankel, Lois [D-FL-21]* • Rep. Gallego, Ruben [D-AZ-7]* • Rep. Garbarino, Andrew R. [R-NY-2]* • Rep. Gimenez, Carlos A. [R-FL-26]* • Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20]* • Rep. Katko, John [R-NY-24]* • Rep. Kilmer, Derek [D-WA-6]* • Rep. Krishnamoorthi, Raja [D-IL-8]* • Rep. McNerney, Jerry [D-CA-9]* • Rep. Norcross, Donald [D-NJ-1]* • Del. Plaskett, Stacey E. [D-VI-At Large]* • Rep. Posey, Bill [R-FL-8]* • Del. Radewagen, Aumua Amata Coleman [R-AS-At Large]* • Rep. Salazar, Maria Elvira [R-FL-27]* • Del. San Nicolas, Michael F. Q. [D-GU-At Large]* • Rep. Sessions, Pete [R-TX-17]* • Rep. Sires, Albio [D-NJ-8]* • Rep. Stefanik, Elise M. [R-NY-21]* • Rep. Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15]* • Rep. Trone, David J. [D-MD-6]* • Rep. Vargas, Juan [D-CA-51]* • Rep. Waltz, Michael [R-FL-6]* • Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL-23]* • Rep. Wild, Susan [D-PA-7]* • Rep. Wilson, Frederica S. [D-FL-24]* • Rep. Gomez, Jimmy [D-CA-34]* • Rep. Brown, Anthony G. [D-MD-4]* • Rep. Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [D-GA-4]* • Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3]* • Rep. Beyer, Donald S., Jr. [D-VA-8]* • Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9]* • Rep. Barragan, Nanette Diaz [D-CA-44]* • Rep. Lawson, Al, Jr. [D-FL-5] • Rep. Dean, Madeleine [D-PA-4] • Rep. Lowenthal, Alan S. [D-CA-47] • Rep. McEachin, A. Donald [D-VA-4] • Rep. Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [D-NJ-9] • Rep. Sherrill, Mikie [D-NJ-11] • Rep. Hoyer, Steny H. [D-MD-5] • Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian K. [R-PA-1] • Rep. Stevens, Haley M. [D-MI-11] • Rep. Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2] • Rep. Cardenas, Tony [D-CA-29] • Rep. Payne, Donald M., Jr. [D-NJ-10] • Rep. Wilson, Joe [R-SC-2] • Rep. Cleaver, Emanuel [D-MO-5] • Rep. Mullin, Markwayne [R-OK-2] • Rep. Doyle, Michael F. [D-PA-18] • Rep. Langevin, James R. [D-RI-2]

Watch some of our cosponsores stress their support to #PRStatehood here.

Former U.S. Presidents has also stated their support for Statehood for Puerto Rico 

 

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2020 Plebiscite: The People of Puerto Rico Voted for Statehood

On November 3, 2020, along with the general elections, Puerto Rico held a referendum on statehood. Following precedent from Alaska and Hawaii, the ballot measure approved by the Island’s duly elected government asked voters the following question: “Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted into the Union as a State?”. Voters had the option to answer “Yes” or “No.” An absolute majority—52.52 percent—voted in the affirmative. While the Island has conducted status plebiscites in the past, in which support for becoming a State was evident, the November 2020 referendum was the first time a simple, up-or down vote on statehood was held.

 

 

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Now that a clear majority of voters in Puerto Rico have spoken and affirmed their support for admission into the Union, Congress must act.

 

 
 
"The only way to achieve constitutional citizenship for the people of Puerto Rico is by admitting the territory as a State of Union. Although Puerto Rico is fully integrated into the nation's economic system, it is foreign for tax purposes, not incorporated for tariff purposes, and receives unequal treatment under critical programs like Medicaid and Medicare. There is only one way to change this, and it is through Puerto Rico's admission as a State. This bill precisely seeks that, the transition to statehood as the people of Puerto Rico requested three consecutive times at the ballot box,” expressed Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón.
 

Statement from Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez on Puerto Rico’s Statehood Vote


Congressional Action

On April 14, 2021, the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs of the House Natural Resources Committee held a virtual public hearing to discuss legislation to address Puerto Rico's political status, including; H.R. 1522, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act championed by Rep. González-Colón (R-PR) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL).

 

Full Committee Hearing: Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing on Puerto Rico Political Status

On June 16, 2021 the House Natural Resources Committee held a second hearing on legislation to address Puerto Rico's political status, including; H.R. 1522, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act championed by Rep. González-Colón (R-PR) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL).

Remote Full Committee/Office of Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing – June 16, 202


Local and national organizations make a call to address Puerto Rico's statehood claim

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Federation of Mayors of Puerto Rico, and the Federation of Municipal Legislators of Puerto Rico urged Congress to respect the will of the people of Puerto Rico that has been expressed three consecutive times at the polls in favor of Statehood.


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