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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

‘Extended delegates’ for statehood file civil rights complaint over lobbying effort headed by PDP

Former governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares

By The Star Staff

Former governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares said Tuesday that the so-called “extended delegates” of the pro-statehood cause have filed a complaint against Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago and House Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez, both of whom belong to the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party for lobbying against status processes in the U.S. Congress.

During an interview with a local radio station, Rosselló, who is a congressional delegate, said the complaint was filed with the U.S. Committee on Civil Rights.

He said that more than 4,000 Puerto Ricans who live in the mainland U.S. are registered as extended delegates. The individuals already are having conversations with congressmen to push status legislation in Congress.

He said the effort is yielding some movement of the legislation.

“This is a long-term effort,” Rosselló said about the processes that are taking place with members of Congress.

In May, a bipartisan group of Congress members announced an agreement on a discussion draft of a bill that would allow Puerto Rico residents to vote on the island’s status.

The draft, which is called the Puerto Rico Status Act, was announced by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and its main sponsors, Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Congress, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón, a Republican.

If passed in the House and Senate, the Puerto Rico Status Act would create and fund a process by which residents of the island would engage in a binding vote to determine the island’s status in relation to the U.S.

The ballot would not include the island’s current commonwealth status, according to the draft. Voters would instead choose between three options: statehood, sovereignty in free association with the U.S., and independence. As the bill stands, Puerto Ricans would maintain their U.S. citizenship under all options for at least one generation.

Rosselló and his wife, Beatriz, recently spoke before the U.N Decolonization Committee at a hearing dealing with Puerto Rico’s status case.

When he began to speak, a video showed several in attendance exiting the room. The committee approved a resolution calling for a process to decolonize Puerto Rico.

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