Reps. Soto, González-Colón Introduce Bipartisan Puerto Rico Admissions Act

March 28, 2019
Press Release
H.R.1965 would admit Puerto Rico as a State of the union

Today, U.S. Representative Darren Soto (FL-09) and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (PR-at-large) introduced H.R.1965 Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2019, legislation for admission of the territory of Puerto Rico as a state of the union. This is the first ever direct Statehood admissions bill, allowing Puerto Rico full civil rights and equal footing with other states 90 days after enactment.

Rep. Darren Soto, stated: “This bill is about respecting democracy and equality in Puerto Rico. Our historic legislation will finally end over 120 years of colonialism and provide full rights and representation to over 3.2 million Americans. We have seen time and time again that colonial status is simply not working. Look no further than the abysmal Hurricane Maria recovery efforts and the draconian PROMESA law to prove this point all too well. The Puerto Rican people have spoken. It’s time for Congress to finally make Puerto Rico a state!

Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, stated: “From the day I was sworn in as Puerto Rico's sole representative in Congress, and filed the Puerto Rico Admission Act, I stated very clearly that I would work different strategies, across all platforms to achieve the full equality for Puerto Rico, which can only be achieved through statehood. I have led these efforts inside and outside the Capitol halls Congress, and achieved its inclusion in the Republican Party's platform. I have demanded Equality before the Federal Court, and have gone out to the streets to fight for Equality. Puerto Ricans plight for equality is real, and has changed the mind of the Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, who didn’t want to talk about status for the Island but he saw firsthand during his visit to the Island that Puerto Ricans want statehood, and he has now agreed to hold a hearing on this.”

For more than a century the people of Puerto Rico have been U.S. citizens, but has been denied the right to vote for the President and members of Congress, leaving us without representation in the federal government, which enact the laws that rule the land. Democracy and equality for American citizens is an issue of justice and civil rights. Us, as American citizens, want to have the same benefits and duties, as all American citizens have in the states. It will take the joint efforts of Democrats and Republicans dedicated to equality for all Americans, in both the House and Senate, to finally bring full democracy and equality to Puerto Rico. I will work with all Members to accomplish that for the people that I am privileged to represent.”

Governor Ricardo Rosselló, stated: “Equality for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico is the biggest civil rights issue in the United States today. Puerto Rico’s colonial status and unsustainable relationship with the federal government has gone on for over a century, even as our citizens have contributed to the growth, culture and social fabric of the United States, and stood shoulder to shoulder with our fellow citizens on battlefields around the globe and under our same flag. We urge all members of Congress to support this legislation and join in our quest to achieve equal treatment for the over 3 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego, stated: “As we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, it is fundamentally unfair for the people of Puerto Rico to be treated as second class American citizens. I am proud to support legislation which will finally ensure that 3 million Puerto Ricans are treated fairly and are included in our United States.”

Senator Carmelo Ríos, Puerto Rico Senate Majority Leader, stated: "With the filing of this legislation, we take a great step in favor of equality for Puerto Rico. For years, over 3.5 million US citizens have lived the unfinished business of American democracy, and for the first time we see how our claim for equality is not only heard but also not ignored by the majority. Congressmen Soto and Gallego have been strong supporters of statehood for Puerto Rico and today we see their commitment reflected in this legislation that I am sure will have the support of Puerto Rico's allies in Congress."  

Rep. Jamie Raskin, stated “Alexis de Tocqueville said that democracy is either expanding or it is contracting. It is time for American democracy to expand again. We need Puerto Rican statehood not only to defend the much-trampled rights and liberties of more than three million Americans living in Puerto Rico but to keep the trajectory of American democracy growing, vibrant and robust. In American history, we started with 13 states but Congress has since admitted 37 new states, overriding every manner of petty political objection to vindicate the principles of equal rights and inclusion.  What a wonderful statement of American democracy it will be to the rest of the world when Puerto Rico enters the Union and becomes a full and equal member of the nation.”

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