April 21, 2022

Washington, D.C. – George Laws García, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council, released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of United States v. Vaello-Madero:

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Vaello-Madero makes it absolutely clear that the only option for full and permanent equality for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico is through statehood. As long as Puerto Rico remains under the current territory status, the federal government will discriminate against us and deprive us of equal treatment under the law. If Puerto Rico were a state, there would not have been a case, because the federal government was only able to deny Mr. Vaello-Madero his earned benefits because of Puerto Rico’s unequal and undemocratic status as a territory.”

“Congress must address this injustice. They must work to quickly pass legislation to honor the voice and votes of the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico, who have democratically supported statehood for the island three times in the past decade. We support passage of the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act or the possible compromise bill being negotiated by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. What is absolutely unacceptable is for Congress to do nothing and allow territorial colonialism to continue unabated in Puerto Rico against the will of voters on the island. I hope that this Supreme Court decision reminds Congress that the ball is in their court, and pushes them to take swift action on this critical issue for more than 3 million Hispanic U.S. citizens. History is watching.”

BACKGROUNDUnited States v. Vaello-Madero was a Supreme Court case to determine whether residents of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories had equal rights to receive federal Supplemental Security Benefits (SSI). Currently, residents of Puerto Rico cannot receive SSI simply because they reside in Puerto Rico. On April 21, 2022, the Supreme Court decided, in an 8-1 decision, that territorial residents do not have equal rights and that the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to treat them differently from all other Americans.

The Puerto Rico Statehood Council is a Washington, D.C. based, non-partisan, 501(c)4 non-profit issue advocacy organization. We are dedicated to advancing the goal of equality for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico through statehood. 

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