WASHINGTON D.C. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Florida Rep. Darren Soto and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón presented a new bill on Thursday that would make Puerto Rico the 51st state.
The Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2019, H.R.1965, is the first ever direct Statehood admissions bill and would grant Puerto Rico full civil rights and equal footing with the other 50 states 90 days after enactment.
During a press conference held, Rep. Darren Soto said that "this bill is about respecting democracy and equality in Puerto Rico. Our historic legislation will finally end over 120 years of colonialism and provide full rights and representation to over 3.2 million Americans."
Soto added that "We have seen time and time again that colonial status is simply not working. Look no further than the abysmal Hurricane Maria recovery efforts and the draconian PROMESA law to prove this point all too well. The Puerto Rican people have spoken. It's time for Congress to finally make Puerto Rico a state!"
Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón also spoke, stating that "From the day I was sworn in as Puerto Rico's sole representative in Congress, and filed the Puerto Rico Admission Act, I stated very clearly that I would work different strategies, across all platforms to achieve the full equality for Puerto Rico, which can only be achieved through statehood."
She also added that "For more than a century the people of Puerto Rico have been U.S. citizens, but has been denied the right to vote for the President and members of Congress, leaving us without representation in the federal government, which enact the laws that rule the land. Democracy and equality for American citizens is an issue of justice and civil rights. Us, as American citizens, want to have the same benefits and duties, as all American citizens have in the states."
Governor Ricardo Rosselló was present at the press conference and stated that "We urge all members of Congress to support this legislation and join in our quest to achieve equal treatment for the over 3 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico."
Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego made a statement too, "As we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, it is fundamentally unfair for the people of Puerto Rico to be treated as second class American citizens. I am proud to support legislation which will finally ensure that 3 million Puerto Ricans are treated fairly and are included in our United States."
Finally, Puerto Rico Senate Majority Leader and Senator Carmelo Ríos said that "With the filing of this legislation, we take a great step in favor of equality for Puerto Rico."
Watch the full press conference of the bill announcement below.
This story was written out of Orlando, Florida.
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