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A new bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress to allow the island of Puerto Rico to be admitted as a U.S. state.
The bill was introduced by Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González (R-PR). González is a non-voting member of Congress but is allowed to introduce legislation.
The document establishes a process that will make the Puerto Rico — which is considered a colony by many — leave the status of “Commonwealth” to become the 51st state of the United States of America.
“It’s time for statehood for Puerto Rico now. It is time to fulfill the promise of democracy and grant true equality to our fellow Americans on the island,” Soto said.
Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1898 and is defined as a Commonwealth of the country, with its own Constitution and a certain degree of autonomy, although the U.S. reserves sections such as defense, currency, immigration and customs, among others.
The bill proposes a 12-month term for the federal government to proclaim the admission of Puerto Rico as a state.
Rep. Soto, the bill’s main author, said that the legislation has the support of 36 Democrats and 14 Republicans, among them freshman María Elvira Salazar (R-FL).
“I’m very glad to be able to join my friend @RepJenniffer’s bipartisan bill to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st state in the American union!” the Congresswoman tweeted in Spanish.