U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today announced his opposition to legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would end Puerto Rico’s status as a commonwealth and require the island’s residents to choose between statehood, independence, or “Sovereignty in Free Association.” Wicker, a longtime advocate for a fair selection process, also offered an alternative legislative proposal that would allow Puerto Ricans to support maintaining the island’s current status.
“The people of Puerto Rico have a rich and distinct heritage, and they deserve a fair vote for their political future that does not offer a false choice between statehood or independence,” Wicker said. “Despite my colleagues’ claims to the contrary, they have not adequately considered the fact that many Puerto Ricans do not want to change their status and would prefer the option to be left alone.”
“After extensive consultation with Puerto Rican leaders, I am offering an alternative proposal that would not stack the deck in favor of any option and would provide Puerto Ricans the opportunity to determine their future status through a fair and democratic vote. If my colleagues insist on advancing legislation to address Puerto Rico this Congress, I hope they will join me in extending the people of the Commonwealth the full slate of options when choosing their own future.”
Wicker’s legislation, titled the Puerto Rico Status Act, would authorize a binding plebiscite vote on four options: independence for Puerto Rico, sovereignty in free association with the United States, statehood, or retaining the status of Puerto Rico as a Commonwealth.
Read the full text of the bill here.