Puerto Rico has been called the shining star of the Caribbean. The time has come for our star to shine, alongside the others, on the flag of the United States of America.
This stirring call to action is the closing of Rep. Pedro Pierluisi’s speech to Congress on the subject of Puerto Rico’s request for statehood, in the form of the Puerto Rico Status Resolution Act.
Pierluisi began by reminding Congress of the results of the November referendum, in which “more voters said they want Puerto Rico to become a state than to maintain the current status.” He pointed out the the White House has recognized the importance of the vote, and assured listeners that his legislation is consistent with the White House budget request providing for a path to self-determination for Puerto Rico.
After outlining the rights and responsibilities of statehood, the bill authorizes a ratification vote on whether Puerto Rico should be admitted into the Union as a State. If a majority of voters affirm Puerto Rico’s desire for statehood, the bill provides for the President to submit legislation to admit Puerto Rico as a State after a reasonable transition period. The bill also expresses Congress’s commitment to act on such legislation.
Speaking to fellow supporters of statehood, Rep. Rierluisi counseled patience, and reminded them, “The statehood movement is powerful because we are united by a single principle—the principle of equality.” Acknowledging that there were multiple ideas on how to work toward statehood, he continued, “Rest assured: now that the people of Puerto Rico have withdrawn their consent to second-class citizenship, the question is no longer whether, but when, Puerto Rico will obtain equality through statehood.”
Re. Pierluisi then spoke to the Congress, pointing out that the people of Puerto Rico are asking for nothing more than what the people of the states already have, and that a stronger, economically sound Puerto Rico would benefit the United States as a whole.
In Puerto Rico and on the mainland, we are waiting for the response from Congress.