The Puerto Rico- USA Foundation has prepared a petition for the U.S. Congress. The Foundation has been supporting statehood for Puerto Rico since 1990. Their focus is on U.S. citizenship — permanent and equal to the citizenship of people living in the states.
The petition has one goal: to make Puerto Rico an incorporated territory. As you may know, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory. This means that Puerto Rico belongs to the United States and is under the power of Congress, but that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t fully apply.
The petition includes 14 points:
- Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States in 1898, when the Treaty of Paris said that Congress would determine the political status of the people of Puerto Rico.
- Since 1917, the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have demonstrated patriotism and devotion to the United States by serving in the U.S. military, and many have given their lives in this service.
- In 1917, Puerto Ricans were given U.S. citizenship, and there are now more than 3 million U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico and more than 4 million living in the states.
- In 1952, the U.S. Congress approved a territorial constitution for Puerto Rico, part of the process of becoming a state.
- Residents of Puerto Rico are subject to all three branches of the federal government.
- Income from outside of Puerto Rico is subject to U.S. income tax, and residents of Puerto Rico pay more in taxes than residents of several states.
- In quadrennial elections, held since 1964, 95% of voters have chosen to maintain union with the United States. No more than 5% have ever voted for independence.
- The major political parties, embracing 96% of registered voters, are aligned with the national political parties.
- The government of the United States promotes democracy, universal suffrage, and human rights all over the world.
- The U.S. Constitution is applied to Puerto Rico as if it were a state. At the same time, the fact of unincorporation is used to switch off the applicability of the Constitution discriminatorily, costing Puerto Rico billions of dollars in federal funds.
- Puerto Rico is treated like a state so much of the time that it is a de facto state. Since 1898, Puerto Rico has moved closer and closer to a position of statehood.
- The Insular Cases have been used to support discrimination against Puerto Rico, and have crippled Puerto Rico economically.
- The First Amendment of the Constitution allows citizens to petition their government for a redress of grievances to protect their rights as citizens.
- It is the duty of the Congress to protect the rights of U.S. Citizens.
Given these points, “We, the American citizens, residents of Puerto Rico, respectfully request Congress to adopt a resolution certifying Puerto Rico as an incorporated territory of the United States.”
The resolution was sent to President Donald Trump, Vice President Michael Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Chair of the Energy Committee Lisa Murkowski, Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee Raul Grijalva, Governor Wanda Vazquez, and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon.
As the video at the top of this post points out, it doesn’t make sense to call Puerto Rico unincorporated. Puerto Rico is, realistically, more throughly incorporated into the life of the United States than any previous territory was when it became a state. We agree with PuertoRicoUSA that Congress should acknowledge that reality.
Read the PuertoRico-USA petition.