On December 23, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13183, creating the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status (“Task Force”). The purpose of the Task Force was to work with leaders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Congress in identifying options for Puerto Rico’s future status not incompatible with the Constitution and basic laws and policies of the United States. The Task Force was to be composed of designees of each member of the President’s Cabinet and the Co-Chairs of the President’s Interagency Group on Puerto Rico, and co-chaired by the Attorney General’s designee and a Co-Chair of the Interagency Group. In April 2001, President George W. Bush adopted Executive Order 13183 and the Task Force commenced its work.
The Task Force produced reports in December 2005 and December 2007. Both reports conclude that Puerto Rico continues to be a territory of the United States under the plenary powers of the U.S. Congress. Both reports also conclude that there are three options available under the U.S. Constitution for the future status of Puerto Rico: to continue as a territory, to achieve statehood, or to achieve independence (including the status of “freely associated state”, a form of independence).
The Task Force’s reports recommended that Congress provide a federally sanctioned plebiscite in which the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico would be asked to state whether they wish to maintain the current territorial status or opt for a constitutionally viable non-territorial status. If the people of Puerto Rico opt for a permanent non-territorial status, Congress should provide for a second plebiscite where voters would be asked to choose between the permanent non-territorial status options permitted by the Constitution: statehood or independence.
H.R. 2499, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009, provides for a self-determination process for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico as requested by the President’s Task Force in 2005 and 2007.
Please visit www.HR2499.com for more information pertaining to this important matter for our American democracy.