Organizations Urge President Biden to Work with Congress to Pass the Puerto Rico Status Act | Puerto Rico 51st

October 3, 2022

Contact: Comms@prstatehoodcouncil.org

Organizations Urge President Biden to Work with Congress to Pass the Puerto Rico Status Act

Ponce, PR – Today, leaders of citizen advocacy organizations that support statehood for Puerto Rico welcomed President Joseph Biden to the U.S. territory, and immediately urged him to work with Congress to advance the passage of H.R. 8393, the Puerto Rico Status Act, as a means to strengthen the island after the recent natural disasters. The advocates, who believe in full equality and democracy through statehood for the 3.1 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico, also requested that President Biden help bring equal services and benefits to the more than 90,000 U.S. military veterans living in Puerto Rico.

“We welcome our President Joe Biden to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, which we believe will become America’s next state. We treasure our U.S. citizenship, and our goal is to achieve citizen equality and full voting rights like that of our fellow Americans who reside in the 50 states,” said Irma Rodriguez, President of Puerto Rico Chose Statehood.

“The suffering and losses experienced by 3.1 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Hurricane Fiona two weeks ago is immense. We thank President Biden for this visit and all of the ongoing efforts of the federal government to address the recent devastation. Yet, while federal disaster assistance is necessary, the President needs to understand that it is simply not enough because as long as Puerto Rico remains under territorial disenfranchisement and inequality at the federal level the island will continue being vulnerable and fragile to natural disasters. For Puerto Rico to truly recover and become fully resilient we need President Biden to work with Congress to pass the Puerto Rico Status Act, and finally give Puerto Ricans a definitive choice between achieving equality as a state, or becoming a separate nation under independence or free association,” said George Laws Garcia, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council.

“Puerto Rican veterans have proudly served sacrificed and defended American democracy and freedom all over the world. But when they come back home to the island, Congress denies them the right to vote for their Commander in Chief, denies them equal access to federal benefits and services, and forces them to live in the undemocratic and colonial territory status. That needs to end now. Our veterans and their families have earned full representation with a voice and a vote in the U.S. Congress on the issues that mater to their daily lives including infrastructure, climate change and federal disaster recovery programs,” added Rodriguez.

The advocates urged President Biden to bring justice to Puerto Rico by actively working to end the island’s colonial territory status which a majority of local voters have rejected three times in the last decade.

“Mr. President, we know that you believe that in American democracy our society’s challenges are best resolved at the ballot box. The people of Puerto Rico have voted to end territorial inequality and for statehood, and are ready to vote again. You have the power to make history by working with Congress to correct this democratic deficit, and finally let Puerto Rico decide. Please urge Congress to vote on and pass H.R. 8393 now so we can end the devastating fragility of territorial colonialism in Puerto Rico, and finally put the island on a path to real recovery, resilience and prosperity,” concluded Laws Garcia.

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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 full equality and democracy for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico through statehood.

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