Rep. Cruz urges Congress to begin the process to grant Puerto Rico statehood

HARRISBURG, Dec. 21 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., is urging Congress to honor the will of the people of Puerto Rico and finally begin the process to grant statehood to the island, in a House resolution he introduced today.

Cruz’s resolution comes a little over a month after 52.3% of the island’s electorate cast a plebiscite during the 2020 General Election in favor of changing Puerto Rico’s status from an unincorporated territory to become the 51st U.S. state. In his resolution, the lawmaker pointed out that Puerto Rico’s nonvoting congressional delegates have also repeatedly introduced legislation that would grant statehood – and all of the material and symbolic benefits associated with such recognition - to Puerto Rico based on the outcome of a vote by those living on the island.

Unfortunately, Cruz said, Congress has never acted on these bills.

“Over the span of 100 years, the people of Puerto Rico have undeniably viewed themselves as proud Americans and their devotion to this country has manifested through their service in the U.S. military, their contributions to the nation’s economy through business, and their service in government,” Cruz said. “And as the federal government reaps the benefits of their labor, it renders their political power to lame-duck status and continues to evade the question of the self-determination.”

The November advisory referendum is the sixth time statehood has been on the ballot since Puerto Rico ratified its Constitution in 1952, Cruz said, and only Congress can add new states to the Union, but Puerto Rico has no empowered representation in the federal government.

“That means the voice of the people of Puerto Rico have been systemically muted and are at the mercy of people on the mainland advocating for them and their interests in Congress,” Cruz expressed. “As a proud Puerto Rican, I’m taking on this fight because the people of Puerto Rico should no longer languish as second-class citizens.”