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Grijalva to DOJ: Puerto Ricans Have Rejected Current Territory Status

U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and a group of Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen last month objecting to the Department of Justice’s characterization of the 2012 plebiscite vote.

“I am deeply concerned by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) contentions that the residents of the island did not directly reject the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s Puerto Rico’s current territory status in a local plebiscite held in 2012,” wrote Chairman Grijalva in a letter signed by 21 other House Democrats.

The 2012 plebiscite asked two questions. Grijalva reminded Rosen of the questions asked, and objected to the DOJ’s apparent misrepresentation of the results.

“The argument that Puerto Rico did not reject its current territory status in 2012 conflates the plebiscite’s two separate questions,” the Grijalva letter continues. “The first question asked voters ‘Do you agree that Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of territorial status?’ According to results certified by the PRSEC [Puerto Rico State Elections Commission], approximately 78.2% of eligible voters answered this question and 54.0% chose ‘No’. There is no serious debate about the results of the first question.”

The Second Question

“The second question asked voters to choose between statehood, independence, and a sovereign free associated state, regardless of their selection in the first question. According to results certified by PRSEC, approximately 61.2% chose statehood, 33.3% chose sovereign free associated state, and 5.5% chose independence. However, some people debate the results of the second question.”

The letter then quotes a report by the Congressional Research Service, saying, “Debate focused on whether almost 500,000 blank answers on the second question should be included in the total, thereby affecting whether any alternative received a majority.”

Grijalva Claims DOJ is Disingenuous

“Therefore,” the Grijalva letter continues, “it is disingenuous of DOJ to write that in 2012 the residents of Puerto Rico did not reject the island’s current territory status, as demonstrated by the results of the first question.”

The July 20 letter from Deputy Attorney General Rosen to then-Chairman Juan Ernesto Dávila of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission explaining why the Justice Department refused to approve the ballot and other materials for the 2020 plebiscite complained that the ballot took an “anti-territorial” point of view. The letter also stated that the United States had made a “policy judgment” that “the people of Puerto Rico have not yet definitively rejected the Commonwealth’s current status.”

The DOJ described its insistence on including the territory option on the ballot as part of its “neutral” stance on Puerto Rico’s political status.

“The Executive Branch, Congress, and Puerto Rico’s elected government officials must work together to resolve the island’s political status” Grijalva’s letter concluded, “and that process requires accurately describing and acknowledging the aspirations of the residents of Puerto Rico.”

On November 3rd,  Puerto Rico proceeded with its plebiscite vote, which resulted in over 52% of ballots cast in favor of statehood.

Read the letter from Chairman Grijalva

1 thought on “Grijalva to DOJ: Puerto Ricans Have Rejected Current Territory Status”

  1. Research-Exposé (with Facts-Truth-Reason)
    **Equality-Fairness for US Citizens-Veterans in US Territory of Puerto Rico (PR)!**
    “The Federal Government should be the Servant of ALL the People; NOT the Master of some!”
    SUMMARY: Since, 1898 (for over 123+ years)–fellow, but, 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans (part of “We the People”), in the US Territory of PR (with more US Citizens than 22 States) — have made many valuable contributions to our USA! But, until TODAY Puerto Ricans face FEDERAL unfair Treatment/Discrimination/ Undemocratic Control—NO Federal “Consent of the Governed” (NO vote for US President; NO just Representation in US Congress; NO Parity in Federal Laws-Programs-Funds; NO permanent statutory US Citizenship-even in a State) that other US Citizens have, under our US Constitution; noble US Flag- that Represents all diverse “WE THE PEOPLE”!

    As Puerto Ricans face a complex MAGNA CRISIS which major ROOT components are–
    *Economic-Jobs; Fiscal-Debt; Infrastructure; Social; Status-Equality*
    *Where each PART affects the other; the Federal undemocratic Territorial (Colonial) Status affects everything. Federal discrimination ties Puerto Rican hands to fairly compete on a level Playing Field! Other Facts are:
    • Loyal US Puerto Ricans (10m strong-most live in the States, are 2d largest US Hispanic Group)- sacrifice; greatly contribute to our US, since 1513-when Ancestors (1st Governor of PR) came to Florida–107 years before the Pilgrims; fought in the War of Independence (1776)…; as today, Puerto Ricans, bravely and patriotically shed sweat, blood, and tears for our US Flag (WWI; WW-II; Korea; Vietnam; War on Terrorism…).
    • Puerto Ricans want EQUALITY! They have Voted– in CERTIFIED Local Plebiscites (2012, 2017, & 2020) against the current Federal undemocratic Territorial Status, and Independence (which only gets 2-5% of the Vote), as they have Voted for STATEHOOD…; are integrated into US way of life; cherish their US Citizenship…
    *NOTE: Puerto Rico is a US Territory (US Constitution Status). “Commonwealth” or “ELA-Free Associated State” are NOT in the Constitution, but, are Political distorted terms that confuse or fool People… is not the real Status of PR.)

    The Puerto Rican fight for Equality–is not just about the Status Question, but, more fundamental, it’s about the essence, spirit, and soul of our noble US Constitution–where ALL “WE THE PEOPLE” should be treated fairly by their Federal Government; and have full Civil Rights (so we can have a “Representative Democracy”)! In our US Constitution, the People (composed of Individuals–with full Rights…)–come FIRST, not the Federal undemocratic control of the People and Land, as we Guard against a “Tyranny of a Majority”!
    Silence to discrimination; supports injustice!
    You can’t have it both ways–you are either for Equal Rights for All or you excuse or support discrimination!
    FIX (Roots)–the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (US President; US Congress; US Supreme Court)–must stop Political distortion, discriminatory EXCUSES and delays…; END the Federal undemocratic Territorial-Colonial Status through—
    • STATEHOOD: ADMIT fellow born US Citizens-American Veterans- to our diverse “UNION of STATES”– with OWN– STATE Identity (Boricua); Constitution; Flag; and Sovereignty as other STATES have; UNITED, under our noble US Constitution-US Flag-that represents “WE The People”—working for the Good of ALL!
    • Alternative–Do a Referendum on NON-Territorial defined Options, which only are: STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (Without or With PACT of “Free Association).
    **Best Option: PR–EQUALITY + PROGRESS = STATEHOOD with DIGNITY! “En la Unión esta la Fuerza!”
    • Amend US Constitution- with a “Citizen’s Protection-Equality”, and a “Territory Rights” Clauses- that are FAIR…
    US Supreme Court–Revoke the racist Insular Cases-that oppose Civil Rights for All; “Incorporate” Puerto Rico…
    “Patriots cry for Justice-a Call to Arms (Civic Action)-for Fairness-Equality!”
    *ASK OFFICIALS–“Do you support FAIRNESS-EQUALITY for born 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans in the US Territory of Puerto Rico (with more US Citizens than 22 States) that face Federal discrimination–have NO Federal “Consent of the Governed”… through admitting loyal Puerto Ricans to our diverse “UNION of States”, per the will of the People in three Plebiscites (2012, 2017, & 2020)–where STATEHOOD won; Polls-66+% of Americans, support?”
    **Alternative: Do Plebiscite on: STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (Without or With PACT-Free Association).
    *CONTACT: MEDIA; US President and US Congress (DO: Resolutions; Emails; Letters; Forums; Town Halls…)
    **US Congress: [bad link removed]
    **US President:
    ENCLOSURES (Based on Research-Facts) SHARE!!

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