The End of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

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The House Committee on Natural Resources held hearings on April 14, 2021, on two bills that propose to end Puerto Rico’s status as an unincorporated territory of the United States: H.R. 1522, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act, and H.R. 2070, the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2021. Under H.R. 1522, Puerto Rico would hold a referendum, with a transition to statehood if the electorate chooses that territorial option. H.R. 2070 does not specify territorial options; instead, delegates elected to a Puerto Rican Status Convention would draft a list of self-determination options, and a referendum would be held for voters to select the preferred option. According to Senator Bob Menendez, a cosponsor of H.R. 2070, the available options include “statehood, independence, a free association or any option other than the current territorial arrangement.” Both measures would obligate Congress to abide by the Puerto Rican people’s decision on their country’s territorial status.



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