In DC, governor, resident commissioner urge Congress to pass status bill
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón urged Congress on Thursday to pass Bill 8393 to convene a congressionally binding status vote for Puerto Rico.
Pierluisi and González Colón showed no signs of rivalry, although it is a loud secret that the resident commissioner wants to be the New Progressive Party’s gubernatorial candidate in 2024.
Both leaders said during a news conference in Washington that they want Congress to pass the bill before recessing on Sept. 30.
The measure calls for a referendum for Puerto Ricans to choose between independence, free association and statehood. The results of the vote would be binding to Congress. However, the bill remains in limbo in the U.S. Senate.
The legislation states that if residents of Puerto Rico choose independence, they will not lose their U.S. citizenship. However, after the independence declaration, those born on Puerto Rican soil will no longer be U.S. citizens, even if their parents are U.S. citizens.
The agreement would establish open transit between the United States and Puerto Rico for 25 years.
If voters in Puerto Rico choose the free association option, they must approve a new constitution. Federal laws can be enforced on the island depending on the agreements reached. U.S. citizens would not lose their citizenship, but those born after the free association pact goes into effect would not be U.S. citizens, unless otherwise agreed upon when a new constitution and laws are approved.
If Puerto Rico voters support the statehood option, then the island will be proclaimed as the State of Puerto Rico. U.S. citizenship would remain for all born and unborn citizens.
“The time has come to end colonization in the United States,” Pierluisi said at a press conference after dozens of people marched in favor of the bill. “... We are demanding equal treatment, not special treatment.”
González Colón noted that Puerto Rico residents have voted for the statehood option in prior status votes.
“The people of Puerto Rico have voted for equality, they have voted for statehood, and it is up to the United States Congress to uphold the position of 3.2 million American citizens in Puerto Rico,” she said.