(CNN Español) — A group of 51 legislators from the United States House of Representatives, led by the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico before Congress in Washington, Jenniffer González Colón and the Democratic legislator for Florida Darren Soto reported this Tuesday in Washington that they presented a bill so that Puerto Rico is the 51st state in the United States.
Puerto Rico has been a US territory since 1898.
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi went to Washington to support the proposal. Meanwhile, a group of people came to the island’s Capitol in Old San Juan to express their support for the initiative.
In the November 3 elections, Puerto Rican voters were consulted in a non-binding referendum with the question: “Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted into the Union as a state?” He did win with 52.52% of the votes.
“There is only one way to change all this, and it is through the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the Union and precisely this measure seeks that, the transition to statehood as the people of Puerto Rico have claimed at the polls. for three consecutive times ”, expressed González.
MIRA: Pedro Pierluisi trusts that the US Lower House will support a project for Puerto Rico to be a state
This result, certified by the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission, gave way to the proposal presented this Tuesday in Washington, which promotes a process for the admission of the island as a state subject to the voters of Puerto Rico voting in favor in a new statehood referendum. The bill proposes a 12-month period for the president of the United States to admit Puerto Rico as a new state if Puerto Ricans vote yes.
“All the voters who attended the general elections, practically all expressed themselves. And that was without Congress making any kind of commitment or offers to us. That was after President Trump’s administration objected to the query. Still, almost 53% of our voters said yes, “said Governor Pierluisi.
Before coming to the White House, Joe Biden had spoken out in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico and has made it clear that Puerto Ricans must define the status of the island.
In Puerto Rico, several plebiscitary consultations have been carried out on their political status. In 1952, the island adopted the political formula approved by the federal Congress of a ‘Commonwealth’ of the United States.
Since then, several referendums have been held and the Commonwealth formula prevailed over statehood and independence, among different options presented over time.
In 2012, statehood was the winner with 61.16%, as in 2017 with 97.18%. However, the results of the plebiscites did not change the political status of Puerto Rico since they were not binding and did not have the approval of the federal Congress.
What does the current Admission bill pursue?
The Admission Bill establishes that after being approved by Congress, the President of the United States will notify said approval to the Governor of Puerto Rico, who will call a referendum for the voters to decide if they want Puerto Rico to be admitted. as State. In the referendum the following question will be asked: “Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted to the Union as a state, in accordance with the terms prescribed in the approved Law of Congress (date of approval of the law)? If not”.
If Yes is won, the president of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission (CEE) must certify the results and send them to the governor. The governor will have a period of 10 days to communicate the results to the president of the United States, and to the presidents of the House of Representatives and the federal Senate. The president of the United States will have to issue a proclamation declaring the certification of the results and the date on which Puerto Rico must be admitted as a state. The latter cannot occur more than 12 months after the certification of the results by the EEC.
If No prevails in the referendum, the Law for the Admission of Puerto Rico as a state will cease to be effective. The measure presented must be approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States. If it becomes law, the coordination of the voting process for a statehood referendum would begin in Puerto Rico. If statehood is won, the island’s governor would begin a process to select the new representatives of Puerto Rico to the House and the federal Senate, which could be until the day of the ratification vote. This within a period between after the certification of the election for the congressional delegation, but no later than 12 months after the certification of the ratification vote.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism