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Congressman Serrano Urges Congress to Act if Puerto Ricans Vote for Statehood

Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY), who has retired for health reasons, recently sent a message to his colleagues in Congress.

“Dear Colleague,” he wrote, “As many of you know, I have spent my career in Congress fighting for fairness and equality for Puerto Rico, the island of my birth.  I strongly believe that the most fundamental and urgent issue in solving this conundrum is allowing Puerto Rico, and all of the American citizens living there, to address the question of its status as a colony of the United States.  As importantly, I believe that if Puerto Ricans speak in favor of a status change, it is vitally important that Congress listen and act.”

Rep. Serrano went on to review the history of the Island’s relationship with the United States, saying firmly that Puerto Rico is a “colony” and that it has been “treated unequally and unfairly, with sometimes horrific and deadly results.”

“As our nation approaches another election, I have been heartened to hear more discussion than ever before regarding basic issues of democracy and equality for our Nation’s territories, in particular for Puerto Rico and for Washington, DC,” Serrano continued. “However, as those discussions have gone forward, it is my understanding that numerous misleading claims have been made regarding the need for, and support of, equality for Puerto Rico.  I hope you will take a few minutes to learn more about where public opinion lies on this issue.”

Serrano shares evidence of public support for statehood

Serrano pointed out that former Vice President Biden, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and  former President Obama have all recently spoken in support of statehood for Puerto Rico.

He then noted that public polls show strong support for Puerto Rico Statehood across the nation. The message lists these polls:

  •  A survey Sept. 4-11 of 1,000 Puerto Ricans in the States for the Center for American Progress by Latino Decisions, found that 86% would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports statehood for Puerto Rico.
  • poll of 1,025 voters nationally August 26-Sept. 1 by Data for Progress/YouGov Blue registered 54% support for and 26% opposition to statehood for Puerto Rico among all voters and 56% support for and 22% opposition among Latinos.
  • A Data for Progress/YouGov Blue sample of 808 Florida voters Aug. 14-27 — where Puerto Ricans are called ’The Swing Vote of the Swing State’ — counted 56% support and 26% opposition among all voters but 63% support and 20% opposition among Latinos.
  • 801 voters in Pennsylvania, where many Puerto Ricans also live, interviewed by Data for Progress/YouGov Blue Aug. 14-26, had 56% support and 24% opposition to Puerto Rico statehood.
  • 813 North Carolina voters, interviewed Aug. 14-27 by Data for Progress/You Gov Blue, supported Puerto Rico statehood by 52%, with 28% opposed.
  • 803 Iowans questioned by Data for Progress/YouGov Blue Aug. 19-31 were in favor of Puerto Rico statehood at a rate of 52%, with 26% opposed.
  • 420 Maine voters Aug. 19-30 expressed backing to Data for Progress/YouGov Blue for a State of Puerto Rico at 56% with 26% opposition.
  • 809 voters in Michigan Aug. 14-28 were divided 49% in favor of Puerto Rico statehood and 29% opposed in a Data for Progress/YouGov Blue survey.
  • Gallup interviewed 1,018 voters nationally June 19-30, 2019, finding support of Puerto Rico statehood at 66% and opposition only 27%.
  • Anzalone, Liszt and Grove Research, which has polled for Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Barrack Obama, surveyed 600 Florida Puerto Rican voters March 12-19, 2019 and got 81% support for statehood and 12% opposed; 85% support for a ‘Statehood Yes or No’ vote, such the one that Puerto Rico will hold Nov. 3; 80% considering statehood for Puerto Rico an important issue; 71% would cross party lines to vote for a candidate who would push statehood, and 47% would resent a Democrat who backed statehood for DC but not for Puerto Rico.
  • ALG also polled 500 New York Puerto Rican voters May 6-9, 2019 resulting in 78% support for statehood for Puerto Rico and for a ’Statehood: Yes or No’ vote in the territory; 70% willing to cross party lines to vote for a candidate who would push statehood; and 40% would resent a Democrat who supported statehood for DC but not for Puerto Rico.
  • Equis Labs had 600 Puerto Ricans surveyed September 26-October 3, 2019 in Florida and reported 57% support for statehood, 26% for an undefined “commonwealth” status, and 6% for independence.

“The most important poll on this issue, however, occurs in Puerto Rico on November 3rd,” Serrano said. “On that day, as passed by the democratically-elected legislature, Puerto Ricans will have the opportunity to express their will regarding statehood for the islands—a simple question with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer.”

This will be the sixth status referendum in Puerto Rico, but the first yes/no vote on statehood.

“Whatever Puerto Rico chooses,” Serrano concludes, “it is up to Congress to listen. We encourage you to join us in committing to support statehood for Puerto Rico—equality—if it wins the November 3rd plebiscite.”

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