FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2022
Washington, D.C. – Today, a historic bipartisan agreement was presented in Congress to definitively resolve Puerto Rico’s territory status. After months of negotiations, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and others gathered to announce the Puerto Rico Status Act. The discussion draft bill commits Congress to offer a final self-executing choice to voters on the island on which one of the tree non-territorial status options they prefer: statehood, independence, or independence with free association.
“The compromise bill is historic because it is the first time Congress has ever proposed binding legislation that would empower the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico to make a definitive and self-executing choice on whether to become full and equal participants in American society through statehood or to create their own separate country through either independence or independence with free association. It presents a real decision. What Puerto Rico chooses, Puerto Rico gets,” said George Laws García, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council (PRSC).
“This bill is a direct acknowledgement of the fact that the current territory status is fundamentally colonial in nature and that Congress needs to correct this historic injustice which is impacting 3.2 million American citizens ever day. For Puerto Rico to ever truly prosper and reach its full potential it needs full democracy, and in this bill Congress is finally committing to offer the people of Puerto Rico implementable choices up front so island voters can finally end the more than 500 years of colonialism and begin building a viable, competitive and fully democratic future,” added Laws García.
“The Puerto Rico Statehood Council commends the efforts of Majority Leader Hoyer, Rep. Jennifer González-Colón, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, and all others who worked hard to reach this historic agreement. While the agreement is not perfect, and we are still analyzing its details, we have confidence that any issues can be addressed during the legislative process. We look forward to collaborating with Congress as this proposal moves forward in Committee and eventually onto the House floor. Now that the House is gearing up to take legislative action, we call on the Senate to also take up its responsibility and begin taking action to help end territorial colonialism in Puerto Rico,” concluded Laws García.
Background: Last December the PRSC led a letter to Congress urging immediate legislative action to definitively resolve the issue of Puerto Rico’s outdated and failed current territory status. That communication, which was endorsed by a multitude of organizations from across the country and the political spectrum, expressed support for a possible compromise bill option as long as it offered a direct plebiscite vote between the constitutionally viable non-territory options of statehood and independence with or without free association. The Puerto Rico Status Act discussion draft does exactly that.
The Puerto Rico Statehood Council is a Washington, D.C. based, non-partisan, 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the goal of equality for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico through statehood.