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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 9, 2019 02:20 PM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Puerto Rico’s 2017 Plebiscite
Puerto Rico, which became a territory in 1898 as a result of the Spanish-American War, is the largest and most populated United States inhabited territory, as well as the closest to the United States mainland. Since Puerto Rico has become a territory, Congress has passed statutes establishing a civilian government and a nonvoting member of the U.S. House of Representatives, extending U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans, creating a bill of rights and approving a constitution for the island. Despite these democratic advancements, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in presidential elections unless they move to one of the 50 states.

Puerto Rico has held four plebiscites and one Constitutional Amendment Referendum to determine the will of the people regarding the island’s political status since 1967. A majority of the voters rejected the continuation of Puerto Rico’s current unsustainable territorial status in a plebiscite held on November 6, 2012. Congress responded to the 2012 plebiscite by appropriating funding for an objective nonpartisan plebiscite with options proposed by the Elections Commission of Puerto Rico and certified as constitutional by the Department of Justice.

The options as to whether Puerto Rico is to become a state, a sovereign nation, or keep the status quo were included on the most recent plebiscite held on June 11, 2017. The results of the plebiscite favored Puerto Rican statehood, yet no action has been taken by Congress to grant Puerto Rico’s admission.

Please join me in giving a voice to the citizens of Puerto Rico by urging Congress to recognize the June 2017 plebiscite.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-705-1925.

Introduced as HR78