SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico has presented to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington a proposal backed by legislators of both parties to pave the way for this country to become a U.S. state in 2021.
The Puerto Rican representative in Washington and leader of the island’s opposition party, Pedro Pierluisi, proposed on Wednesday the law of the admission process of Puerto Rico as state.
In 2014, the U.S. Congress approved a $2.5 million endowment to finance the holding of the first consultation on the issue in the history of Puerto Rico sponsored by the federal government, provided certain conditions were met.
The law presented Wednesday proposes to use those funds for the consultation.
If the majority of voters are in favor of integration, it would automatically start the statehood process for the island.
It currently holds the status of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in such a way that it is governed by the federal laws and Puerto Ricans have U.S. citizenship, but it is not a full-fledged state, with important economic and political limitations.
According to the process proposed in the draft law, before February 2018 the U.S. president must issue a proclamation to formally begin the transition period for Puerto Rico’s status.
In 2020 Puerto Rico would be responsible for organizing everything so that in the elections of that year there can be voting for federal offices such as president and vice president (something that is not available to Puerto Ricans at present), two senators and members with right to vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Finally, on Jan. 1, 2021, the president would proclaim that Puerto Rico has been admitted as a State of the Union.
The party in favor of Puerto Rico becoming the 51st U.S. state is the opposition New Progressive Party, while the ruling Popular Democratic Party wants to maintain the current political status.