Thursday, October 06, 2011
Serrano Urges Inclusion of All Puerto Ricans in Status Plebiscite
Politics Says the Serrano Amendment Must Be Included as in the Past Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano has urged the inclusion of all Puerto Rican-born people in a status plebiscite, regardless of where they now reside. This plebiscite condition, known as the Serrano Amendment, has been attached to virtually every consensus status bill since the 1990s. Serrano said “excluding people who left the island for economic or social reasons in the past silences a segment of the Puerto Rican family which deserves to weigh in on a final status arrangement.” “From the time I came to Congress and began to work on the status issue, I have always said that those Puerto Ricans who are now living off the island must be included in any decision on the final permanent status,” said Serrano. “I reached out to the political leaders in Puerto Rico today to remind them that this provision has been part of every consensus bill over the past decade, and has been agreed to by all political parties. “The inclusion of all native-born Puerto Ricans is not about loading the vote for one option or another, but rather about fairness and justice. Many of us left the island not because we wanted to, but rather because our families had to make difficult economic choices. We do not now ask to be part of local political decisions, but this final status question transcends normal political questions and deserves our input as part of the Puerto Rican diaspora. “The political parties in Puerto Rico, which are so divided on so many things, have historically agreed on the Serrano Amendment. I fail to see what has changed in this current situation that prevents the Serrano Amendment from being part of the plan for the plebiscite. Some have mentioned the White House Task Force; to them I say, let Puerto Ricans choose their plan for this plebiscite and not make decisions that exclude anyone from the process. “It is long past time for the Puerto Rican people to say to the federal government with one united voice that it is time for a change. Besides the Serrano Amendment, this is something that all the parties agree on: the current situation cannot continue. Let’s begin the process of changing the status to one of respect and dignity, whatever form that may take. We must unite around the idea that our people, both on and off the island, deserve the right to determine our own future. Whatever their decision is, it deserves to be taken seriously by the federal government. Surely we all agree both on and off the island, that Puerto Rico has been in limbo too long and it’s time for a change. ### source: press release from Serrano's office Editor's note: What do you think? Should Puerto Rican-born people who moved out the island be allowed to participate in a status plebiscite?