Saturday, October 19, 2019

Shadow Congressional Delegation Urges Congress, Trump to Admit Puerto Rico as a state

By on March 6, 2019

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s Shadow Congressional Delegation, or Statehood Commission, is calling on the public to add their names to a www.Change.org petition asking the U.S. Congress and President Trump to support the admission of Puerto Rico as a state.

The petition, created by Shadow Representative Alfonso Aguilar, states that “over 3 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico are being denied their full civil and political rights and are under an undemocratic and discriminatory territorial status that stifles the full social and economic development of the island. While the majority of the people of Puerto Rico have already voted twice to make the island a state in 2012 and 2017, Congress has chosen to ignore the results.”

The petition, created March 2, has nearly 2,500 signatures and says that although Puerto Ricans have been natural-born U.S. citizens since 1917,  they are not allowed to vote for the president and do not have voting representation in Congress.

“Puerto Rico’s current undemocratic territorial status has led to a patchwork of incoherent federal laws and regulations that have severely limited the island’s economic development and contributed significantly to create the fiscal crisis the island is facing,” the petition reads.

“We ask all Americans to join us as we urge Congress and President Donald J. Trump to support Puerto Rico’s admission as the 51st state of the United States,” said former Gov. Pedro Rosselló, the commission’s president.

Appointed by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to serve as the island’s representatives before Congress, the commission aims to garner support for statehood through advocacy efforts and congressional outreach.

Its members also include former Govs. Luis G. Fortuño and Carlos Romero Barceló; GOP Committeewoman Zoraida Fonalledas; DNC Committeeman Charles Rodríguez; and retired Col. Luis Berríos Amadeo.

The full text of the petition follows:

The over 3 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico are being denied their full civil and political rights and are under an undemocratic and discriminatory territorial status that stifles the full social and economic development of the island.  While the majority of the people of Puerto Rico have already voted twice to make the island a state in 2012 and 2017, Congress has chosen to ignore the results.

The people of Puerto Rico were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917. However, over one hundred years later, they are not allowed to vote for the president who can send their children to war and don’t have voting representation in the Congress that passes laws that apply directly to them. Puerto Rico has only one non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The U.S citizens of Puerto Rico have served with valor and honor in our armed forces to defend our nation.  Over 220,000 Puerto Ricans have served during wartime and hundreds of thousands more during peacetime.  Nine of those courageous U.S. citizens from the territory have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force.

Puerto Rico’s current undemocratic territorial status has led to a patchwork of incoherent federal laws and regulations that have severely limited the island’s economic development and contributed significantly to create the fiscal crisis the island is facing.  Moreover, the uncertain and unclear political status of the island discourages the private investment needed to foster healthy economic growth and job creation.

It is not surprising that hundreds of thousands are migrating to the mainland seeking the jobs and salaries they cannot find at home.

Hurricane Maria, which hit the island in 2017, made matters worse, devastating the island, and exposing the second-class status that Puerto Ricans have always experienced.  As a territory, the Island doesn’t receive the same relief assistance that states receive.  And being disenfranchised from the national political process, the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have very little influence over the President and the administration and don’t have the adequate congressional representation in Congress to ensure Washington pays proper and continued attention to the needs of the island.

The U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico demand that Congress put an end to the unfair and discriminatory territorial status of the island and put Puerto Rico in a firm, and irreversible, path towards statehood.

Only through statehood can the U.S. citizens of the island attain the same civil and political rights and assume the full responsibilities other U.S. citizens have under our Constitution…

Only though statehood will they have the political power in Washington to ensure Congress and the administration don’t forget about their needs…

Only through statehood can Puerto Rico overcome the current legal and political limbo of its territorial status that scares away investment and jumpstart its economy to achieve robust growth and healthy job creation…

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