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Rep. Aponte Hernández Demands Action from U.S. Congress

By on January 9, 2016

SAN JUAN – New Progressive Party (PNP) Rep. José Aponte Hernández has written a column for The Hill in which he demands the U.S. Congress to act on the issue of Puerto Rico’s status this year.

The legislator’s idea is to enable a viable path for the admission of Puerto Rico as the 51st state of the nation, according to the results of the 2012 status referendum.

“For the past few years we have called for Congress to act and nothing tangible [has] occurred. This needs to change. This has to be the year that, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, act to bring a lifeline to Puerto Rico. This needs to be the year that Congress will grant the Island a path towards statehood, anything less will be unacceptable,” the former House speaker wrote.

Aponte Hernández said the massive local government debt is one of the major forces behind this historic migration to the states.

“The American citizens who live in Puerto Rico can’t take it anymore. In fact, more and more of them are leaving the Island, in record numbers, to find a better quality of life in the states. For example, in 2014, some 83,010 migrated to the continental U.S., a then historic mark. Although the figures for 2015 are not yet completed, as of July the number stood at 71,297. It’s easy to project that when the data is completed, that number will [easily] surpass the 90,000 mark,” he added.

In his piece, Aponte Hernández also blames Congress and its new leadership, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, “for the dire situation that almost 3.5 million American citizens are in.”

“The responsibility for the stagnation and bleak economic outlook now facing the American citizens living in Puerto Rico is shared between the local government and the Congress.

“Congress has the responsibility to give the Island the tools to move forward. To jumpstart our economy and to [stem] the massive and historic migration wave that, if left [unchecked], will thwart any efforts to restore our economy,” he warned.

In conclusion, the legislator said Congress must approve what he calls the “most important piece of legislation pending in Congress…the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Process Act (HR 727)…which will result in the Island becoming a state on January 1, 2021.”

Online: The Hill

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