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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Pro-statehood group submits draft status bill to Congress



The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, on April 25, 2023. Draft legislation submitted to Congress notes that while Puerto Rico is legally an unincorporated territory, the island has been incorporated through a series of laws including the Foraker Act and the Jones Act, and the commonwealth Constitution. (Kenny Holston/The New York Times)

By The Star Staff


Prominent supporters of Puerto Rico statehood have sent to all 500 members of Congress a draft bill that would make Puerto Rico an incorporated territory of the United States in the hope that the measure can gain approval.


The draft legislation, a copy of which was obtained by the STAR, notes that while Puerto Rico is legally an unincorporated territory, the island has been incorporated through a series of laws including the Foraker Act, which organized the island government into three branches, the executive, legislative and judicial, along the lines of the U.S. government; the Jones Act, which gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans; and the commonwealth Constitution.


All income from sources outside of Puerto Rico is subject to federal taxation, and the U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico “contribute billions of dollars to the Federal Treasury, paying more in federal taxes than residents of various regions in the fifty states without representation in Congress,” according to the draft legislation.


The draft bill notes that all persons who have become citizens of the United States, and are residents of Puerto Rico, will be considered citizens of the “Incorporated Territory of Puerto Rico.”


The U.S. Constitution, and, except as otherwise provided, all the laws of the United States, including laws carrying general appropriations, which are not locally inapplicable, will have the same force and effect within the aforementioned incorporated territory of Puerto Rico as elsewhere in the United States.


However, the bill says that after Puerto Rico becomes incorporated, all taxes collected under the internal revenue and customs laws of the United States in Puerto Rico, and on items produced in Puerto Rico and transported to the United States, or consumed on the island, will be deposited in the U.S. Treasury.


All taxes collected under the internal revenue laws of Puerto Rico shall be deposited in the Treasury of Puerto Rico as may be prescribed by those laws, and/or as Congress disposes from time to time, among other conditions.


Among the statehood supporters who are promoting the bill are former San Juan Mayor Hernán Padilla, former University of Puerto Rico President José Saldaña and former Sen. José Garriga Picó.


In filing the bill, the statehood supporters noted that achieving incorporation will be easier than statehood and will put Puerto Rico on the path to statehood. In December 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow Puerto Rico to hold a binding status vote on whether to become a state or gain some sort of independence, but the Senate did not consider the bill before the legislative election. Now the process has to start again.

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1 Comment


William Rosa
William Rosa
Feb 15

It really saddens me when I hear well educated Puerto Ricans talking about statehood and the benefits for Puerto Ricans. Those of us who had lived the "American" experience disagree tremendously with Mr. Padilla, Mr. Saldaña and Mr. Garrigo Pico; being Puertorricans in the US is an incessant challenge that is not never recognized. Culturally, the US and the Puertorrican persons, look at their living process quite differently; it's not a matter of language, is a particular way of being but transplanted. The experience of being among your people is fulfilling and healthy while being among strangers that consider you inferior is simply taunting.

Historically, PR had produced Puerto Ricans with these gentlemen skills and experience. They proved themselves before,…


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