Friday, February 09, 2007

Bill Introduced to Provide Self-Determination Process for Puerto Rico

This week, Congressman Serrano together with Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño, introduced H.R. 900, a bill to provide a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico. Serrano and Fortuño gathered 81 other members as co-sponsors of the legislation.

"I am happy to have been the principal mover behind this legislation, which will start the process to allow Puerto Ricans to decide their status once-and-for-all," Serrano said. "I believe that this legislation has the potential to finally end the colonial status of Puerto Rico. Under a Democratic Congress, I believe the chances for a fair and forthright process for Puerto Rican self-determination are very good."

Serrano and Fortuño's bill would allow for a two-step process. First, the people of Puerto Rico, including those born there and now living on the mainland, would be asked if they support a change in the island's status or prefer to maintain the current relationship with the U.S. If they asked for change, then, in a second referendum, they would be asked whether they supported independence or statehood. If, however, they voted for the status quo there would be subsequent referenda to gauge any change in support for the measure. The sponsorship of the federal government would ensure that the result of the referendum would be acted upon.

"Continuing the current status indefinitely cannot be presented as an equal option to statehood or independence," said Serrano. "Under the Constitution of the United States, there is no provision for the current status continuing as a permanent condition. Statehood and independence are the only two legitimate and constitutional options for Puerto Rico's future. Many choose to ignore this reality, but there is no other option.

"Whatever the choice, Puerto Rico is ready to make this decision. I look forward to working to move the bill and the process further toward a final resolution of the status issue. The time has come to move forward."

source: The Serrano Report
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