The Puerto Rico Status Act is now under consideration in both the House and the Senate. In case you haven’t been following along, here’s your chance to catch up.

The history of the Puerto Rico Status Act

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. As such, it does not have the full protection of the U.S. Constitution. It doesn’t have equality with the states — and that means that the people living in Puerto Rico do not have equal rights with their fellow Americans who live in states. U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections, and territory status creates social and economic problems for the Island.

Like many other U.S. territories, Puerto Rico has had quite a few statehood bills that have not become law.

In 2020, the Island had a statehood admissions bill in Congress and a referendum on statehood scheduled for November (statehood won). Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon, the Congressional representative for Puerto Rico, had introduced the statehood bill. Representatives from New York introduced their own status bill, calling for a lengthy and complicated Constitutional Convention to consider all conceivable status options, potentially including some that had been rejected by Congress as unconstitutional. This bill distracted Congress and once again they took no action on Puerto Rico’s status.

The sponsors of the two bills got together with many other leaders and members of the community and created a new, compromise bill. That was the first Puerto Rico Status Act. It gave voters a choice among three political status options: statehood, independence, and “sovereign free association.” It did not include the option of remaining a territory, since that possibility had been voted down in 2012. It also did not contain the “enhanced commonwealth” option, because that has been discredited as “not a viable option” by all three branches of the federal government.

The House passed the compromise bill in 2022, but it was too late in the year to make it through the Senate, and the term of that Congress ended with no further action.

Companion bills introduced

The Puerto Rico Status Act was reintroduced in the house as HR2757 in 2023. Later in the year, the Senate companion bill, S3231, was introduced in the Senate. The two bills are the same and have the same name.

In both cases, the Puerto Rico Status Act calls for one more referendum in Puerto Rico. This will be the first federally-sponsored plebiscite, though Puerto Rico has had six status votes over the years. All the previous votes have been non-binding. That is, Congress didn’t have to take action on the votes. That is normal for a plebiscite.

The Puerto Rico Status Act, however, requires Congress to commit to respect the outcome of the vote. For many years, leaders have called for Congress to tell Puerto Rico which options it would approve and to allow voters to choose from among those options. This bill will be the first time that has ever happened. Congress will have to agree that it is willing to follow through on any of the options on the ballot.

The Puerto Rico Status Act defines all three options clearly. There may be changes to the language before the bills are passed, but this will be a vote which includes all and only the status options Congress is willing to accept. The decision will then be up to the voters of Puerto Rico. One thing is certain: if the Puerto Rico Status Act becomes law, Puerto Rico will no longer be a colony of the United States.

Both bills have bilateral support. Please ask your representatives to support these bills and end the colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States.



2 Responses

  1. -End PR’s UNDEMOCRATIC Territorial Status; provide EQUAL US Citizenship-Civil Rights!-
    Since 1898, the US Federal Government undemocratically controls the US Territory of Puerto Rico (PR)-(with more US Citizens than 21 States)– that have NO Federal “consent of the governed”, as Patriots demand Equal Civil Rights-Fairness; revocation of unjust Laws; a Non-Territorial/Non-Colonial Status!

    FACTS: Today, millions of 2d class US Citizens-US Veterans in Puerto Rico (PR) (part of “We the People”) have: NO Vote for US President; NO just Representation in US Congress; NO Parity in Federal Laws, Programs, or Funding (like in Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, Veterans, Infrastructure, Education, Emergency, etc.) ; 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/ trite Territorial Clause (1787); racist Insular Cases (1901-1925); other un-equal Laws—where the US Constitution is not fully applied to Puerto Rico…! (Unfairly going on for 125+ Years)!

    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. The Federal undemocratic Territorial status affects everything; brings instability…; ties PR’s Hands to fairly compete-grow the Economy; limits progress; goes against our US Democratic founding principles!
    The Federal Government should be the Servant of ALL the People; NOT the Master of some!
    The People with Equal US Citizenship/ Rights come first, not a “separate & unequal” Status! In our 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”; noble US Constitution that 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, it’s one too many!
    The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT can end this unjust inequity now, but, has not done so! Instead, some generalize; provide biased EXCUSES that blame the Victim; are closet racists…; create double standards not applied to other Territories before PR. This results in a stalemate that perpetuates Federal subjugation!
    Puerto Ricans Sacrifice & Contribute to our USA since 1513!
    Hispanic US Puerto Ricans (PR) are about 10m strong (most live in the States) as they are integrated; greatly sacrifice, and loyally contribute (in all fields of endeavor) to our diverse USA; patriotically shed sweat, blood, and tears for our US Flag (WWI; WW-II; Korea; Vietnam; Global War on Terrorism…). Also, PR pays more Federal Taxes than 6 States; is a US Market that creates over a million US 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)…till today. PR helps develop and defend our now USA!
    Silence to discrimination; supports injustice!
    US Citizens in PR have voted to END the Territorial-Colonial Status, per local Plebiscites (2012, 2017 & 2020) where Statehood won; Independence got only 2-5% of the Vote… Puerto Ricans have proven loyalty to our US; cherish their US Citizenship! Yet, Congress doesn’t do Right for Equal Citizenship!
    You can’t have it both ways; either patriotically support Equal Rights or
    you allow unjust Federal discrimination/ subjugation or the “Tyranny of the Majority”!
    FIX: Our Federal Government must END Federal unjust control of PR; ensure Equal Civil Rights-US Citizenship… Do a Plebiscite with properly defined Non-Territorial Options, which only are:
    STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (Without or With a Free Association Pact)
    In our “UNION of States”-each State is stronger than by itself; complements others, with progress–for the Good of All! (All US States have their own Identity, Constitution, Flag, and State Sovereignty)…
    “En la UNIÓN está la Fuerza!”
    Only Statehood guarantees a permanent statutory US Citizenship as the US Constitution/Laws end upon Independence. Statutory US Citizens (by Territorial Clause/Jones Act-1917), in 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 Naturalize those in the States (per 14th Amendment).
    “NO just Representation; NO Democracy!”
    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 PR’s Federal undemocratic Territorial Status; or amend/ revoke unjust-unequal Laws that limit Progress.
    “Equality for a more perfect UNION!”
    Today, Hispanic-Puerto Ricans are being treated unjustly by their Federal Government (Legislative, Executive & Courts)-that, at times, misinterpret the US Constitution or do nothing for Equal Civil Rights for PR or mean–“All People are Equal; but, some People are more Equal than others!”
    Patriots are called to Civic Action for FAIRNESS-JUSTICE!
    THE TIME IS NOW: demand our Federal Government take ACTION to ensure Equality; Democracy:
    (1) Do a PR Plebiscite on viable Non-Territorial Options—STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE vs
    INDEPENDENCE-Free Association Pact-Support HR-2757/ S: 3231-PR Status Act (w/amendments).
    (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) Update the Territorial Clause; provide more Rights & a Status limit; end unjust Federal domination…
    Patriots call to Civic ACTION for PR Equal Civil Rights- EDUCATE on Facts; CONTACT: MEDIA; US Congress: & US President:
    UNITED-with Truth, Reason, and Civic Action for the Good of All!
    BY: DENNIS O. FREYTES (MPA, MHR, BBA)-FL Veterans Hall of Fame

  2. ASK all CANDIDATES/ MEDIA to STAND-UP for our DEMOCRACY-Equal Civil Rights!
    Facts are: Since 1898,the Federal Government undemocratically controls millions of fellow US Citizens-US Veterans have–NO Vote for US President; NO Federal just representation; NO Parity in Federal Laws; NO permanent Statutory US Citizenship (EVEN in a STATE)– that are in the US Territory of Puerto Rico (with more loyal US Citizens than 21 States).
    • If there is NO Federal Vote or just Representation–there is NO Democracy which goes against our noble USA foundation-core values!
    • The Federal Government should be the Servant of ALL the People; NOT the Master of some!
    Q: After 125+ years of Federal suppression against Hispanic-Puerto Ricans (US Citizens-US Veterans) that have NO Federal “consent of the governed”–WILL YOU take ACTION (without providing excuses that discriminate or blame the Victim)–TO SUPPORT- a Federal Plebiscite on viable NON-Territorial Options: STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE or INDEPENDENCE with Free Association (Pact), like in HR-2757-the “PR Status Act” that is before the US Congress; let the People VOTE?
    BEST OPTION: PR Equality & Progress with STATEHOOD!
    “You can’t have it both ways-either you support Equal Civil Rights for ALL US Citizens (“WE THE PEOPLE”) or you excuse Federal discrimination against Hispanics-Puerto Ricans!”
    -God Bless our DIVERSE & UNITED noble USA!-

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