UPDATED 5:00 PM PT – Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have introduced legislation to make Puerto Rico a state. During a press conference on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act, which has around 50 cosponsors.
The bill would pave a path to statehood for the long-time territory. Voters on the island would still need to approve joining the union in a federal referendum.
We are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
I am honored to stand with my colleagues, and my brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, to send a strong message that their voices matter and we are going to do everything in our power to pass #statehood. pic.twitter.com/4kIrztwwxG
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) March 2, 2021
Puerto Rico’s GOP Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, who is a nonvoting member of the House, emphasized the push for statehood transcends politics.
“This is not an issue of the Republican Party. This is not an issue of the Democratic Party. This is an issue of democracy,” Gonzalez stated. “This is an issue of self-determination. This is an issue of the rights of American citizens living in Puerto Rico that need to be heard.”
— Jenniffer González (@RepJenniffer) March 2, 2021
Puerto Ricans approved statehood in a non-binding referendum back in November.
Tuesday is American Citizenship Day on the island, marking 104 years since residents were granted U.S. citizenship.