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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Aponte Hernández urges continued ‘knocking on doors’ to augment draft Puerto Rico status bill’s 49

Rep. José Aponte Hernández

By The Star Staff

The new draft of the Puerto Rico status bill, House Resolution (HR) 2757, a bipartisan measure that seeks to hold a congressionally endorsed plebiscite among the options of statehood, independence, and independence through free association, already has 49 co-sponsors.

New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. José Aponte Hernández made the announcement Tuesday. He stressed that the increase in co-sponsors who support the measure indicates that “the message must continue to be carried in the federal House of Representatives, because when talking about what happens on the island to over 3.2 million U.S. citizens, due to the injustice of the colony and the inequality that we live in, the congressmen understand that something must be done now.”

“We have to continue to carry the message, knocking on doors and speaking to congressmen about the urgency of addressing this issue of inequality for so many American citizens,” Aponte said. “We have been working on the matter, both in visits to the federal capital and in calls and correspondence with congressmen and the response has been positive. We have to continue making the effort because we continue to see results.”

The at-large lawmaker and former speaker of the island House of Representatives called on supporters of the pro-statehood NPP to continue “knocking on the doors of Congress.”

The six original authors of the bill, filed on April 20 -- Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón and Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) -- have been joined by 43 new co-sponsors, including four from the Republican party.

Republican co-sponsors include Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Don Bacon (Neb.), Lori Chavez (Ore.), and Andrew Garbarino (N.Y.).

“The issue of equal civil rights, which was the foundation of our nation, is the responsibility of both national parties to attend to,” Aponte said. “They have to see it as a problem for U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico and not minimize it to a partisan political matter. Enough of being the oldest colony in the world, we cannot allow ourselves to continue receiving crumbs and unequal treatment. HR 2757 is the mechanism available for Congress to do justice to U.S. citizens in the territory, who have voted, freely and democratically, in favor of admission during the past three local status consultations.”

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