The General Assembly of Illinois, like that of Tennessee, is considering a bill supporting statehood for Puerto Rico. The bill was introduced by Rep. Luis Arroyo, who was born in Corozal, Puerto Rico, and is the Assistant Majority Leader of the Latino Caucus.
The bill begins with recognition of the citizenship of Puerto Ricans and the inequality of Puerto Rico with the States:
WHEREAS, In 1898, Puerto Rico became a United States territory; persons born in Puerto Rico have been granted U.S. citizenship since 1917; the territory of Puerto Rico has a population of more than 3.4 million people; and
WHEREAS, The territory has an insular government that, subject to federal law, exercises authority similar to that possessed by the governments of the several states; and
WHEREAS, U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico are not treated equally under federal law with citizens in the states and do not have representation in their national government, other than that provided by a sole Resident Commissioner who can only vote in committees of the House of Representatives to which she or he is assigned;
The bill goes on to point out that Puerto Rico’s status has been a primary factor in Puerto Rico’s economic difficulties:
WHEREAS, Puerto Rico is treated as a state for purposes of most laws but is not treated equally with the states under dozens of statutes, including some providing for major health care and other programs for individuals with critical needs and in a number of revenue measures; and
WHEREAS, The limitations of, and treatment under territory status, has left Puerto Rico under-developed and has substantially contributed to its economy being weak for four decades and in depression for the last decade;
Next, the bill acknowledges that territories can move on to permanent political status, and that the 2012 vote made the will of the people of Puerto Rico clear:
WHEREAS, It has been the longstanding policy of the United States that U.S. citizens of the territory can determine whether it should eventually become a state or independent nation; and
WHEREAS, An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico want to replace territory status with a permanent form of government that provides for equality and for democratic representation in the making of their national laws; and
WHEREAS, Puerto Rico held a public election on the question of statehood in 2012; 54% of voters rejected territory status, and 61% of those voters chose U.S. statehood over the other options of independence, and nationhood in free association with the United States; and
WHEREAS, The Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Process Act (H.R.727) was introduced into the 114th Congress; however no actions were taken before the expiration of that Congress at the end of 2016; therefore, be it
Finally, the bill calls on the U.S. Congress to take action:
RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDREDTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we encourage the 115th Congress, to introduce and pass new legislation on the admission of Puerto Rico as the 51st state.
A similar bill passed the Tennessee General Assembly. If more states take initiative to call on Congress to act on Puerto Rico’s demand for statehood, it will be hard for the federal government to ignore that demand.
Click below to tweet your thanks to Rep. Arroyo. Then tweet your own representatives if you live in a State. Ask them to introduce similar legislation in your General Assembly. The States have power and can support Puerto Rico in a meaningful way.@RepArroyo, thank you for your support of statehood for Puerto Rico! Click To Tweet