Posts Categorized: Archives

Congressional Experts Link Independence and Free Association

Is free association a form of independence? Supporters of the free association option in pending federal legislation – the Puerto Rico Status Act – see a big difference. However, the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which provides unbiased, non-partisan factual background for members of Congress, sees things differently. A new report, “Statehood Process and Political Status… Read more »

What Is Sovereignty?

Terms like “free association” and “commonwealth” can understandably be confusing because there is actual disagreement or a lack of awareness of what those words mean, but “sovereignty” should not cause as much confusion as it does. Sovereignty is about power: specifically, who has the power? The Supreme Court in Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle determined that… Read more »

What Is Statehood?

Some critics of the proposed Puerto Rico Status Act continue to demand clarification of the definition of statehood. This may seem odd, since we have 50 states to look at as examples.  We can also look to the U.S. Constitution, the primary law of the land, to explain what a state is and how it… Read more »

Puerto Ricans and Intermarriage

Recent research reports one surprising difference between Hispanic people born in a state and those who move into a state: those born in the states are more likely to marry people who are themselves born in a state. The study included people from Puerto Rico as well as Spanish-speaking individuals from foreign countries. History Research… Read more »

Misunderstanding over “Commonwealth” Continues

While Congress is in its August recess, with House Members back home in their districts and preparing for November elections, the Puerto Rico Status Act (HR 8393) remains pending before Congress. The controversial proposal, led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), calls for a vote in Puerto Rico on the Island’s political status. One… Read more »

Congressional Support Grows to Advance Democracy in Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Status Act (HR 8393), a bill pending before Congress, seeks to allow voters in Puerto Rico to create a more democratic relationship with the U.S. by choosing a new political status from among proven, well-established, non-territorial options that would essentially either elevate Puerto Rico from being a U.S. territory to become a… Read more »

The Economic Limits of Free Association

A legislative proposal pending before Congress would give Puerto Rico voters a choice among constitutionally viable non-territory status options – statehood or nationhood. Jordan Ferris of Pasquines wrote an essay on the economic consequences of the bill. “If Puerto Ricans were to choose independence, then the territory would have complete economic autonomy for the first… Read more »

Anti-statehood Arguments against Arizona

Every current state had an anti-statehood faction when it was a territory. Generally speaking, the arguments against becoming a state are forgotten once the new state is admitted. This is certainly true of Arizona. Cultural issues Many territories encountered resistance from existing states when they sought to be admitted. Puerto Rico is currently facing such… Read more »

Who Controls Laws on U.S. Citizenship?

The Puerto Rico Status Act, a legislative proposal pending before Congress, makes some specific claims about citizenship. In a state, of course, U.S. citizenship will be secure as it is for any state. Under independence, the bill provides that “Puerto Rico has full authority and responsibility over its citizenship and immigration laws, and birth in… Read more »

Can the U.S. Change the Terms of Free Association?

One of the options presented in the proposed Puerto Rico Status Act for a new U.S.-Puerto Rico relationship is for Puerto Rico to achieve sovereignty but also sign a comprehensive Articles of Free Association with the U.S. The description of free association in the bill includes lots of privileges for Puerto Rico that the U.S…. Read more »