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. A small...

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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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