USA Libre! Why Can`t All Americans Vote On Puerto Rican Statehood?

While I was


in Puerto Rico, where my family moved in 1956 from Los Angeles,

debated political issue was statehood
. Should the island

became part of the U.S.
in 1898 after the


become America`s 51st state, declare its independence or remain
a U.S. Commonwealth—a status it attained in 1952?


Puerto Ricans



and, in a series of three plebiscite votes held in 1967, 1993
and 1998, voted to retain its standing as

a territorial U.S. Commonwealth

Island residents` majority opinion,
which I recall hearing expressed during my youth, was that the
Commonwealth option provided Puerto Ricans with the best of all

Except for voting privileges in

U.S. presidential elections
, Puerto Ricans as

automatic American citizens
get the

country`s inherent benefits
without having to pay
federal income tax (although they do contribute to social
security). They can travel to, work in and

remain indefinitely in the U.S.
without challenge.

But now, however, a fourth vote on
Puerto Rican political status may be in the offing.

A Puerto Rico referendum bill passed
the U.S. House of Representatives on April 29 by a 223-169 vote.

H. R. 2499
, the Puerto Rican Democracy Act,
calls for a so-called
expression by Puerto Rican voters on their
island`s future political status.

The bill authorizes Puerto Rico to
conduct a first vote asking its people whether they


favor the Commonwealth
status quo; or


prefer the nebulous
“different political status”

If a majority votes for change, a
second round of voting would then ask whether Puerto Rico should


a state;


a modified commonwealth
(incomprehensibly defined as
“sovereignty in
association with the United States: Puerto Rico and the United
States would form a political association between sovereign
nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of
the United States Constitution;”


become fully

or (d) remain a Commonwealth.


under H.R. 2499
, Puerto Ricans living on the island
and U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico—but
not necessarily living there today
—would be eligible to
participate in the plebiscites.

Census data

show (amazingly) that slightly more Puerto Ricans, about 4.2
million, live

in the U.S. than on the island.
And according to
private surveys, 73 percent of stateside Puerto Ricans would
likely vote for statehood, thereby potentially overriding the
will of island residents.

H.R. 2499`s final terms thwarted an
effort by Puerto Rico`s pro-statehood, leftist

New Progressive Party
to drop altogether the
Commonwealth option from the final ballot and to limit voters`
choices to either statehood or independence. The PNP, as it is
called, controls both the governor`s office and the legislature.

My guess: had the only ballot
choices been between statehood and independence, the election
would have resulted in a landslide vote for statehood.

Desperate Puerto Rican statehood
proponents were willing to use strong-arm tactics to force their
way into the Union to rid Puerto Rico
 of its

heavy debt load
. Puerto Rico`s public debt has
grown at a faster pace than the growth of its economy, reaching
$46.7 billion in 2008.

In January 2009,

Governor Luis Fortuño
laid off 30,000 government workers
in an effort to eliminate his government`s $3.3 billion deficit,
although this will increase the 12 percent unemployment rate. [
Puerto Rico to
layoff 30,000
New America Media, by Teo Ballvé,

9, 2009]

Just what America needs—more

bankrupt states
with astronomically high
unemployment rates!

In the back of Fortuño`s mind must
be the slight possibility that, as a state, Puerto Rico might
qualify for a

U.S Treasury bailout
, which it would be unlikely to
receive as a Commonwealth.

Some statehood detractors have high
visibility in Congress.

Among the opposed, but for different
reasons, is our long-time target and open borders advocate U.S.

Luis Gutierrez
the son

of Puerto Rican parents
and an island property

In remarks from the House floor,
Gutierrez said that he could support statehood if Puerto Rico

field an Olympic


keep Spanish as its main language
retain other aspects of its identity.

According to Gutierrez,

"Maybe these 4 million American citizens don`t want to become a
state because they love their language; because they love their
culture; because they love their idiosyncrasies; because they
love applauding their Olympic team…because so many

Miss Universes
come from Puerto

Puerto Rican
Statehood? No thanks, says Gutierrez

by Katherine Skiba,
Chicago Tribune, May 2, 2010]

The English language issue Gutierrez
referenced is critical to the statehood debate.

An effort by U.S. Rep. Paul Broun
R-Ga. (
grade: A+
), to amend H.R. 2499 to stipulate
that any newly formed state mandate English as its official
language of government operations was defeated in the House
Natural Resources Committee on a 13-to-24 vote, split along
partisan lines with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

Eventually, however, the House
adopted a meaningless amendment which stated that any official
language requirements of the federal government will also apply
to Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico as they do to the other 50

As a press release from

Pro English
the Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit, non-partisan
organization noted that since English is not the official
language of the United States, the amendment is merely a
ProEnglish added:

“This was a stunning setback for maintaining English as the
common tongue that unites Americans—especially when polls reveal
that 9 of 10 of Americans want English to be the official
language of government operations and 30 states have adopted
laws to that effect.”

K. C. McAlpin
, Pro English`s

Executive Director
told me:

"Democrats and Republican supporters of statehood know that
Puerto Ricans would never vote for statehood if they knew they
would have to give up Spanish to be admitted to the Union. So
they desperately are trying to sweep the language issue under
the rug."

Added McAlpin:
"No territory operating
in a language other than English has ever been admitted as a

After H.B 2499 passed the House, a
preliminary hearing at the

Senate Committee for Natural Resources and Energy

was held to gather testimony.

Among those present were the
following Puerto Rican contingent:

Resident Commissioner
, Pedro Pierluisi;
President of the Popular Democratic Party, Héctor Ferrer;
President of the Independence Party, Rubén Berríos and Governor

One anonymous attendee confided in
me that the Senate questioning of the Puerto Ricans was “hostile”. No further
proceedings have been scheduled.

The obvious question: why House
Republicans would vote in favor of Puerto Rican statehood when
the net result will inevitably be

more Democrats
in Congress?

Indiana Congressman

fresh from his betrayal of patriotic immigration reformers
during the Bush amnesty wars, is one of Puerto Rican statehood`s
biggest champions. His rationale:

“As a conservative who believes in the power of
self-determination and of  
individual liberty, I believe the 4
million American citizens in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
should be able to voice their opinions about Puerto Rico`s
relationship to the United States, although the ultimate
determination of that fate rests with this Congress, and I am
pleased to stand in a long line of Republicans who have taken
that view. Every Republican President for the last 50 years has
been committed to self-determination and democracy for the
American citizens in Puerto Rico.”

(See Pence`s speech


I have a different take on Pence and
other like-minded Republican panderers. They think that being
pro-Puerto Rican statehood, in defiance of all the evidence that
neither Puerto Ricans nor Americans favor it, is a cheap
opportunity to demonstrate their pro-Hispanic disposition.

Given this year`s multiple

amnesty threats

S.B. 1070
and this year`s

May Day marches
, you may not have given
Puerto Rican statehood much consideration.

But let me boil down its
consequences for you.

Obama admits
to being
“open” to Puerto
Rican statehood. He`s appointed
La Raza operative

Cecilia Muñoz
currently known as the White House Director of Intergovernmental
Affairs, as co-chair of the

President`s Task Force on Puerto Rico`s Status

The goal of Puerto Rican statehood
is nothing as lofty like
“self determination”
“democracy”. Instead,
it is to leveraging Congress with as many Democrats as possible,
to keep the Obama agenda grinding along and crushing whatever
opposition the Republicans may mount along the way.

All this and the threat of

coast-to-coast bilingualism
—which has happened in
Canada because of its

French-speaking province of Quebec

What better reasons could there be
to oppose Puerto Rican statehood?

Why not let all Americans vote on
this subversive proposal?

We are the ones who will pay the

Maybe a majority will agree with

USA Libre!

Throw Puerto Rico out!

Joe Guzzardi
him] is a California native
who recently fled the state because of over-immigration,
over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He
has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the
growth rate stable. A
long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the

Lodi News-Sentinel.