WASHINGTON–At a press conference today in Washington, DC, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and joined U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi and several colleagues to introduce the Puerto Rico Status Act, legislation that lays out a process for the people of Puerto Rico to determine the future of the island’s political status.
“Puerto Rico’s political status is a decision for the people of Puerto Rico. Too often, the Puerto Rican community in Connecticut has watched the federal government fall short of supporting their friends and family on the Island when faced with devastating natural disasters and economic crises. This bill is a commonsense compromise that would ensure Puerto Ricans are no longer relegated to second-class citizenship and are granted the long overdue right to self-determination,” said Murphy.
“This important legislation empowers the people of Puerto Rico to decide what future they want for themselves – bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders on one path forward,” Blumenthal said. “Whether the people of Puerto Rico choose statehood, independence, or sovereignty, they deserve the full benefits of citizenship.”
The legislation is co-led by U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). U.S. Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón (R-P.R.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The Puerto Rico Status Act authorizes a federally sponsored plebiscite to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status. The legislation details the transition to and implementation of a non-territory status for Puerto Rico – Statehood, Independence, or Sovereignty in Free Association with the United States – that is chosen by a majority of voters in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Status Act was drafted with extensive input from members of Congress; local elected government officials; citizenship, immigration, and constitutional law experts; and hundreds of residents of Puerto Rico.
More information on the Puerto Rico Status Act, including a fact sheet, bill text, and one-page explainer of the legislation, can be found here.