Category: Status Report

House Vote Sets Up Possible Puerto Rican Statehood

(April 29) — Puerto Ricans ought to hold a referendum on whether to keep their island a commonwealth or consider statehood, independence or some other status, the U.S. House voted after an impassioned debate today. The island became a U.S. territory in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans are American citizens but cannot vote in presidential elections and have only a nonvoting representative in Congress. Puerto Rico’s lone delegate to Congress, Pedro Pierluisi, argued that Puerto Ricans should have the right to decide their own destiny. “The fundamental justice of our cause — to enable a fair and...

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U.S. House passes status bill, 223-169 votes

The House on Thursday approved the Puerto Rico status bill (H.R.2499) by a 223-169 vote after a grueling full day of debate on the island’s past, present and possible future role in its relationship with the United States. But, in a major change in the bill, the commonwealth option was given a second chance if voters rejected the current status. The Democrats carried the day for the measure as 184 of the party’s lawmakers voted in favor. They were joined by 39 Republicans. Those opposed to the bill included 129 Republicans and 40 Democrats. A total of 57 Republicans had signed on as co-sponsors. Apparently 18 either changed their minds and voted against the bill, or did not vote at all. The big change came about when an amendment by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-Texas, was approved that would put the commonwealth on the second plebiscite as one of four options, along with statehood, independence and free association. Under the bill, introduced by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, a second plebiscite will be held if voters say in a first referendum that they want a change in the current U.S.-Puerto Rico relationship. It was unclear at press time how commonwealth would qualify for the second ballot if in the first vote, a majority decides it wants to change that status. A last-minute motion, had it passed, would most likely have killed...

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Puerto Rican Officials Scrap Millions of Birth Certificates

(April 21) — In a dramatic bid to end fraud, identity theft and illegal immigration, Puerto Rico is voiding all birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010 — forcing more than 5 million people to apply for new ones. The move will “protect the identity of all Puerto Ricans born on the island, and at the same time help the federal government with national security issues,” Luis Balzac, spokesman for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, said in a phone interview with AOL News. According to the U.S. departments of State and Homeland Security, Puerto Rican birth certificates account for about 40 percent of all cases of passport fraud every year, ABC reports. Under the law, which was passed in December, some 4 million island residents and another 1.2 Puerto Ricans living in the United States will lose their current birth certificates. They must apply for new ones that have been redesigned to be less susceptible to fraud. In the law, the Puerto Rican legislature says the island’s birth certificates “facilitate criminal conduct of all types,” such as “fraudulently obtaining immigration benefits, narcotics trafficking, credit procurement, terrorism and the trafficking of women and children.” The fact that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens makes their birth certificates a hot commodity, especially among residents of other Spanish-speaking regions who use them via identity-theft schemes as their ticket into the United States....

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2010 Census

The Twenty-third United States Census, known as Census 2010 or the 2010 Census, is the current national census in the United States. National Census Day was April 1, 2010 and is the point of reference date used in filling out the form.As required by the United States Constitution, the US census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. The 2000 United States Census was the previous census completed. Census forms began to be delivered March 15, 2010. Although the questionnaire used April 1 as the point of reference date as to where a person was living, an insert dated March 15, 2010 included the following printed in bold type: “Please complete and mail back the enclosed census form today. As of April 1, the national return rate was 52%. The Census Bureau website states it will no longer use a long form for the 2010 Census. In several previous censuses, one in six households received this long form, which asked for detailed social and economic information. The 2010 Census will use only a short form asking ten basic questions, including name, sex, age, date of birth, race, and home ownership status. Detailed socioeconomic information collected during past censuses will continue to be collected through the American Community Survey. The survey provides data about communities in the United States on a yearly basis rather than once every 10 years....

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New birth certificate law causing headaches for many island-born in US

March 13, 2010 | by Robert Friedman Many stateside Puerto Ricans are having identity problems because of the island’s recent birth certificate law. Several states, including California, Ohio and Nevada, reportedly have stopped accepting birth certificates of island-born boricuas as proof of identity for driver’s licenses and other documents. Stories have been appearing in the stateside media about the confusion raining down on many Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland over the law, meant to tackle identity theft sparked by wholesale pilfering of Puerto Rico-issued birth certificates. Under the law, every single birth certificate issued in Puerto Rico will...

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