Congress has passed HR 8393, the Puerto Rico Status Act. The bill gives the voters of Puerto Rico the chance to choose from among the three permanent status options available under the U.S. Constitution:
- Free Association with the United States
Under the terms of the bill, Puerto Rico voters would have the chance to choose from these options in November. If one of the choices gets the majority of votes, it will become the new political status of the Island. If none of the options gets a majority of votes, there will be a run-off between the two top choices.
In any case, Puerto Rico will no longer be an unincorporated territory belonging to the United States. The Island will be sovereign, as a state or a nation.
Who voted for the bill?
The vote was 233-191, with Yes votes from all the Democrats and 16 of the Republicans.
Republicans voting for the bill:
- Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
- Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)
- Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
- Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
- Rep. Mayra Flores (R-TX)
- Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY)
- Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH)
- Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
- Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
- Rep. David Joyce (R-OH)
- Rep. John Katko (R-NY)
- Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
- Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
- Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL)
- Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA)
- Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Click to tweet a thank you to the House:Thank you, House of Representatives, for supporting Puerto Rico by passing HR8393! Click To Tweet
If your representative voted for the bill, please consider thanking them directly.
We at PR51st also want to thank you and the thousands of individuals across the nation who reached out to their representatives in Congress and encouraged their friends and families to do the same. This groundswell of support is what has brought us to this historic moment.
While it is not likely that the Senate will pass any version of the bill this year, we are closer to achieving statehood than we ever have been before.
This is the first time that Congress has passed a bill providing a choice among the non-territorial options. It is the first time the leadership of the different positions on status have worked together to craft a compromise bill all could agree on. It is the first time the House has agreed to a self-executing bill.
We will continue to work toward the eventual goal of statehood and equal rights for Puerto Rico. We look forward to working alongside you for this momentous achievement.
-Patriots rise! Equal Civil Rights for US Citizens-US Veterans–Puerto Ricans!-
Today, The US Federal Government undemocratically controls the US Territory of Puerto Rico–with more fellow US Citizens-US Veterans than 20 States– that have NO Federal “consent of the governed” as they demand a Non-Territorial /Colonial Status; Equal Civil Rights-Fairness; revocation of unjust Laws!
Facts are: Since 1898 (US invasion-till today)-millions of fellow US Citizen-US Veterans in Puerto Rico have a 2d Class US Citizenship-NO Vote for US President; NO just Representation in the US Congress; NO Parity in Federal Programs-Laws-Funding (includes Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, Infrastructure, Education, Social, Veterans, Emergency, and other Federal Funds); NO permanent statutory US Citizenship (even if moving to a State). Plus, the Federal Government– controls PR’s Borders, Currency, Laws, Security, Economy, Trade, etc.–under the unjust (1787) Territorial Clause.
Besides, Puerto Ricans face a magna CRISIS and Exodus to the States–which major ROOT components are–Economic; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Social; and Territorial Status—where each PART affects the other. Federal discrimination & the undemocratic Territorial Status– affects everything; brings instability; ties PR hands to fairly compete-grow the Economy; limits progress; goes against our Democratic Ideals!
The Federal Government should be the Servant of ALL the People; NOT the Master of some!
The People with Equal Rights come first, not a “separate & unequal” Status! Remember, in our great US Republic, the power resides with all “We the People” (made up by individuals)–per our Declaration of Independence that calls for “Consent of the Governed”; as our noble US Constitution calls for Equal Rights-Fairness, and a Republican form of Government or a Representative Democracy (“a Government of the People, by the People, and for the People”–Lincoln)! NO Federal Vote results in NO Democracy!
Even if one US Citizen (Individual) doesn’t have full Rights, is one too many!
The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT can end this unjust inequality now, but, has not done so! Instead, some provide ageless EXCUSES that create a double standard that weren’t applied to other US Territories before Puerto Rico; politically distort/misinform; are biased or racist. This creates stalemate; perpetuates Federal oppression which is against the highest precepts of our noble USA’s Representative Democracy!
“You can’t have it both ways, either you support Equal Rights or you allow Federal discrimination!”
Silence to discrimination; supports injustice!
FIX: Our Federal Government (Legislative, Executive, & Judicial) must ensure Equal Rights; let Puerto Ricans VOTE in a Plebiscite, with clearly defined non-territorial constitutional options-which only are:
1. STATEHOOD-MEANS- Admission to our diverse “UNION of STATES”– under the Federal US Constitution/Laws/Democracy; equal US Citizenship with full rights, benefits, and responsibilities…
*With PR-STATE Identity; Constitution; Flag; Sovereignty… as other States & other US Citizens have.
2. INDEPENDENCE-MEANS- Puerto Rican National Sovereignty with PR Constitution/Laws & PR Citizenship; loss of US Constitution & statutory US Citizenship, Rights, and Benefits… Other Type:
• INDEPENDENCE (Pact of Free Association): add-a negotiated limited Pact between sovereign Independent Nations (on Defense, Trade, Other…) that can be terminated by either side…
Best Option: “PR EQUALITY & PROGRESS with STATEHOOD!”
In a UNION-each State is stronger than by itself; complements others, with progress–for the Good of All!
“En la UNIÓN está la Fuerza!”
Only Statehood guarantees a permanent statutory US Citizenship as US Laws end upon Independence. Statutory (Territorial Clause/Jones Act-1917) US Citizens moving to the STATES have a stake in this just fight as they can lose their non-permanent statutory US Citizenship. THUS, the US Congress must let them Vote in any Plebiscite or allow for State Naturalization (per 14th Amendment) in any Plebiscite.
Puerto Ricans Sacrifice & Contribute to our USA since 1513!
US Puerto Ricans are about 10m strong, (most live in the States)-are integrated as the 2d largest US Hispanic Group that sacrifice; greatly contribute (in all fields of endeavor) to our US. Since 1898, Puerto Ricans patriotically shed sweat, blood, and tears for our US Flag (WWI; WW-II; Korea; Vietnam; Global War on Terrorism…). PR pays more Federal Taxes than 6 States; is a US Market that creates Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs… PR Ancestors (1st Governor of PR & Crew) came to Florida (in 1513)–107 years before the Pilgrims; others fought in the US War of Independence (1776)…; help develop our now USA.
The Federal Government must let the People Vote; Equal Rights is at stake!
US Citizens in Puerto Rico want to end the Territorial (Colonial) Status as they Voted in certified local Plebiscites (2012, 2017, & 2020) for Statehood; against the current Territorial Status. Independence got only 2-5% of the Vote… Puerto Ricans cherish their US Citizenship, and have proven loyalty to our US.
“We must Guard against a Tyranny of a Majority!”
In our evolving US Constitution, it’s clear that the Power should reside with “We the People” (made up by Individuals). However, our Federal Government incongruently does not act to end Puerto Rico’s Federal undemocratic Territorial Status; amend or revoke unjust Laws that limit progress, like–
• Territorial Clause (1787) states: “US Congress shall have the Power to dispose of and make all rules and regulations pertaining to the Territory or other Properties that belongs to the US.” **It doesn’t mention that the Federal Government can take Individual Rights & Benefits away, but, it does…
• Insular Cases (1901-1925+ based on racism)–states–Puerto Rico is an “unincorporated” “US Territory; more foreign than domestic, belongs to, but, is not part of the US (soil)”– resulting in a permanent “Separate and Un-Equal Status” which goes against a Representative Democracy.
**These nonsensical double standards were NOT applied to other US Territories or US Citizens before Puerto Rico; are NOT in the US Constitution, are based on Racism…; condemned as unconstitutional by Justice Gorsuch and Others who support revoking them…
• Jones (Merchant Marine) Act (1920)–imposes hidden higher costs on Puerto Rican Consumer Goods; badly hurts the Economy/progress; is unfair because a majority of States don’t pay for it…
“Equality for a more perfect UNION!”
Hispanic-Puerto Ricans are being treated (by the Federal Government) like the allegory (Animal Farm)–“All Animals (People) are Equal; but, some Animals (People) are more Equal than others!” Today, the US Constitution does not fully apply to US Citizens-US Veterans in Puerto Rico, as the Federal Government has not let the People Vote (since 1898-for over 125+ years) to end Federal subjugation!
Patriots rise to Civic Action for Equality!
THE TIME IS NOW to ensure Equal Civil Rights; a Representative Democracy for all “We The People” (include Puerto Ricans-US Veterans)! Thus, let’s get our Federal Government to–
(1) Stop Federal discrimination-Do a PR Plebiscite on viable Non-Territorial Options—STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (Without or With a Pact of Free Association)… Let the People VOTE for Equality!
(2) Revoke un-just Laws (like the racist “Insular Cases”, 1920 Jones Act…); Incorporate Puerto Rico.
(3) Amend US Constitution to clearly protect Equal Civil Rights-Fairness for ALL “We The People”…
(4) Revoke or update the Territorial Clause to make it more FAIR (with more Rights & Status limit).
UNITED-with Truth, Reason, Justice, and Civic Action for the Good of All!
*BY: DENNIS O. FREYTES (MPA, MHR, BBA); FL Veterans Hall of Fame; Community Servant Leader