July 22, 2022
Contact: Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora

BUDPR & CASA Joint Statement on the Opposition to the Current Puerto Rico Status Act Bill

JULY 22, 2022 - The Puerto Rico Status Act introduced recently in the U.S. House of Representatives, and  passed by a narrow vote in the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, is the result  of a flawed process of so-called consensus that has been far less inclusive and democratic  than Puerto Ricans deserve. It is the product of an our-way-or-the-highway approach from  pro-statehood House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer that has backed advocates of a fair and  just decolonization process for Puerto Rico into a corner: support this legislation or you get  nothing and the status quo endures. 

We denounce that state of affairs, artificially created by Congressional leaders (including  Representatives Steny Hoyer and Raul Grijalva) who are playing politics with Puerto Rico’s  political future. For that reason, and for the lack of a real democratic, transparent, and inclusive process we reiterate that we cannot support this bill as presented, and our  support will be dependent on the celebration of public hearings and the presentation of amendments to the bill, by both Democrats and Republicans, in the floor of the  U.S. House of Representatives in an eventual vote. 

This bill is not opposed by lobbyists with special interests, like Rep. Raul Grijalva recently  stated. BUDPR and CASA have worked closely with Power4PR and more than a hundred  grassroots and progressive organizations from Puerto Rico and the Diaspora to advocate for a real, serious, inclusive, and democratic self-determination process.

BUDPR and CASA  are not lobbyists of special interests, but grassroots organizations with years of social work  for the most in need in Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the United States. We maintain that this bill—and the process that led to it—remains fundamentally flawed because of the  following reasons: 

It maintains the political illusion that a 50%+1 majority is sufficient for Congress to  consider granting statehood to Puerto RIco, despite repeated warnings from both  Republicans and some Democrats that they are unwilling to do so.

It leaves unaddressed fundamental questions of language and culture that are of  paramount importance, not just to Puerto Ricans, but to members of Congress who  have frequently cited the centrality of those issues. 

It codifies definitions and transition plans for the various options negotiated behind  closed doors in Washington, D.C., with minimal input from the Puerto Rican people. 

It is being rushed through without full public hearings in D.C., which prevents  participation from the Puerto Rican diaspora, full transparency in front of the  American people, and denies both Democrats and Republicans the opportunity to  consider input that would give the bill increased chances of becoming law. 

This bill exists in a bubble in which Republican opposition, the filibuster, and the Senate’s  repeated warnings that it will not consider statehood for Puerto Rico do not exist. Others  may be content with a symbolic victory in the House Committee on Natural Resources.  Those of us who urgently want Puerto Rico’s colonial status to end must warn against  efforts that, ultimately, will not lead to a productive outcome. 

It did not have to be this way. The Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act, which had bipartisan  support from 11 Senate co-sponsors, outlined a superior process to address the issue of  Puerto Rico’s status. It would have created a mechanism for Puerto Ricans to draft status  definitions and transition plans in consultation with Congress but led by our own people.  That would have ensured that the questions that matter most to Puerto Ricans would be  addressed, and that the answers that are unacceptable in Washington, D.C., would not be  considered. 

We hope that, when the Puerto Rico Status Act fails, as it surely will, political leaders in  Congress and in Puerto Rico will look to the Self-Determination Act again as a model. We  encourage them to heed the warnings of our organization and many others who have  anticipated the failure of any effort to force Congress to grant statehood to Puerto Rico, and  take up our recommendations on what a productive, politically viable process should look  like in the future. 

In the meantime, we hope that the Puerto Rico Status Act will continue to spur debate in  Puerto Rico and in the United States, and to confront Americans with the moral and political  responsibility of ending 124 years of colonialism in Puerto Rico. 


Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora (BUDPR) and BUDPR Action 
CASA and CASA in Action