Equality for Puerto Rico Through Statehood
Equality for Puerto Rico Through Statehood
The “Igualdad” (Equality) Movement
“Igualdad” a Movement for Citizen Equality through Statehood
The “Igualdad” (Equality) movement, a non-partisan grass-roots citizen advocacy organization, has a simple and compelling objective: To advocate for full equality for the U.S. Citizens of Puerto Rico with the rest of our fellow U.S. Citizens who reside in the 50 States through Statehood for Puerto Rico. “Igualdad” was created to demand the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities for all U.S. Citizens who reside in Puerto Rico that are inalienable rights and responsibilities of all U.S. Citizens who reside in the 50 States of the Union.
Puerto Rico has been a colonial possession of the United States (i.e. territory) for over 114 years. As such, American Citizens who reside in Puerto Rico are subjected to geographic discrimination, segregationist policies and a deficit of democratic rights because we cannot vote for the President or elect voting representatives to Congress even though federal law is supreme in Puerto Rico and federal policies, programs, practices and courts impact our daily lives in many ways. Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution does not protect the U.S. Citizens who reside in Puerto Rico in the same manner it protects other U.S. Citizens.
Early last century the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress imposed on Puerto Rico a new made-up classification in the Federal System called “Unincorporated Territory”. This status, which denies equal protection under the U.S. Constitution and serves as the basis for the geographic discrimination against U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico, was adopted at a time in American history when discrimination against minorities was still common under federal and state laws. Much if not all of that legally sanctioned discrimination has been corrected since then, however, the residents in Puerto Rico continue to be subject to a political system that denies them full equality as U.S. Citizens and participation in their national government.
The interpretation of the “Unincorporated Territory” status by the Supreme Court and Congress is not consistent with the fact that in 1952 President Truman signed USC§1402, changing the Statutory American Citizenship that had been granted to all persons born in Puerto Rico in 1917 under the Jones Act, to Natural Born American Citizens for all persons born on the island from January 1941 onward.
Results of the Recent Puerto Rico Status Plebiscite
On November 6th, 2012 the U.S. Citizens residing in Puerto Rico voted in a two-part plebiscite on whether or not to continue under the current political status of the territory, and on what their preferences are among the constitutionally viable status alternatives. With the participation of 77.6% of all registered voters the residents of Puerto Rico rejected the continuation of the current territorial status, officially referred to as the Commonwealth, with an absolute majority of 54%. With this vote the island’s citizens removed any possible consent that may have existed to continue being governed under this undemocratic and discriminatory status. The plebiscite results also yielded an overwhelming demand for a non-colonial status, with a super-majority of 61% of the voters who properly cast their ballots choosing U.S. statehood as their preferred option among the three non-territorial alternatives which also included independence and nationhood in free association with the U.S.
Congress: “Igualdad” is petitioning Congress for Equality with the rest of our fellow American Citizens through the only path that will lead to full equality, admission to the Union as the 51st State. We as representatives of the “Igualdad” movement are asking each member of Congress to support and assist us in our long trek towards equality with our fellow American Citizens. The course of action that will permit the U.S. Citizens of Puerto Rico to achieve equality will require that you endorse our just cause in four specific ways:
President: “Igualdad” is requesting that President Barack Obama include the resolution of the status of Puerto Rico in his State of the Union Speech and in his Lexington Doctrine of Nation Building First. We are also requesting that the President fulfill his commitments to help the U.S. Citizens of Puerto Rico find a solution to the status issue.
Key Points for “Igualdad” Advocacy Teams
In their Meetings with Congress
All U.S. Citizens that happen to reside in Puerto Rico, irrespective of where they were born suffer the same geographic discrimination. Since a person born in Pennsylvania, or any other state, that resides in Puerto Rico also losses their rights to vote for the President and elect members to Congress that represent their interests, and will see the benefits that should apply equally to all Americans diminished.
Once the Resident Commissioner starts the path to prepare legislation for a Statehood Enabling Act, “Igualdad” will become an Advocacy Group for a Statehood Enabling Act that is acceptable to the majority of the U.S. Citizens of Puerto Rico that will result in a super majority in the referendum that will be enacted with Congressional approval.
American citizens residing in any foreign country, such as the Republic of Costa Rica, can vote for the President of the United States a right that is denied to American citizens residing in the territory of Puerto Rico; in our view this is tantamount to a segregationist policy!
Para trabajar por la Estadidad: