Puerto Rico Political Status


Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. Territory status limits the island’s full political, economic, and social development. Puerto Rico’s territory status has implications for many aspects of life, including access to federal resources and services, voting power, political representation, foreign affairs, trade, and immigration policy.

H.R. 2757, the Puerto Rico Status Act, recognizes the federal government's responsibility to facilitate the decolonization of Puerto Rico. Last Congress, the bill passed the House with bipartisan support, including all Democrats. The Biden-Harris administration endorsed the legislation with a favorable Statement of Administration Policy.



The Puerto Rico Status Act is a historic offer from Congress to the people living in Puerto Rico - to make an informed decision about their political future. The bill lays out the process for voters to make that choice and requires Congress to follow through with the will of the majority of voters.

Key Provisions of the Puerto Rico Status Act

  • Authorizes a federally sponsored plebiscite to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status.
  • Specifies and defines Puerto Rico’s non-territorial status options: Independence, Sovereignty in Free Association with the United States, and Statehood.
  • Provides for an objective, nonpartisan, federally funded voter education campaign leading up to the vote.
  • Establishes a process and timeline for the U.S. Department of Justice to review the plebiscite voter education materials and plebiscite ballot design.
  • Authorizes necessary funds to carry out an initial plebiscite and, if necessary, a runoff plebiscite.
  • Describes the transition to and implementation of each status option in sufficient detail for eligible voters in Puerto Rico to make an informed choice about Puerto Rico’s future political status.
  • Ensures the result of the plebiscite is binding, and implements the option that is chosen by a majority of eligible voters in Puerto Rico.



Puerto Rico es un territorio de los Estados Unidos. El estatus territorial limita el pleno desarrollo político, económico y social de la isla. El estatus territorial de Puerto Rico tiene implicaciones en muchos aspectos del diario vivir, incluyendo el acceso a recursos y servicios federales, poder de voto, representación política, relaciones exteriores, comercio y política migratoria.

El gobierno federal tiene la responsabilidad de facilitar la descolonización de Puerto Rico. El pasado Congreso, el proyecto de ley fue aprobado con apoyo bipartita, incluyendo de todos los demócratas, en la Cámara de Representantes. La Administración Biden-Harris apoyó la legislación mediante una Declaración de Política de Administración favorable.

*El Comité de Recursos Naturales ha publicado una traducción no oficial al español de la Ley del Estatus de Puerto Rico para la conveniencia del público en general. De haber alguna inconsistencia entre las versiones en inglés y español del texto, la versión en inglés será la versión prevaleciente.


La Ley para el Estatus de Puerto Rico representa una oferta histórica del Congreso al pueblo de Puerto Rico para tomar una decisión informada sobre su futuro político. El proyecto de ley establece un proceso para que los votantes tomen la decisión y requiere al Congreso implementar la determinación de la mayoría de los votantes.

Puntos clave sobre la Ley para el Estatus de Puerto Rico 

  • Autoriza un plebiscito patrocinado por el gobierno federal para resolver el estatus político de Puerto Rico.
  • Precisa y define las opciones de estatus no territorial de Puerto Rico: Estadidad, Independencia y Soberanía en Libre Asociación con los EE. UU.
  • Proporciona una campaña de educación electoral objetiva, no partidista y financiada por el gobierno federal antes de la votación.
  • Establece un proceso y fechas límites para que el Departamento de Justicia de los EE. UU. revise los materiales de educación para votantes y el diseño de la papeleta del plebiscito.
  • Autoriza los fondos necesarios para llevar a cabo un plebiscito inicial y, de ser necesario, un plebiscito de segunda vuelta.
  • Describe la transición e implementación de cada opción de estatus detalladamente para que los votantes elegibles en Puerto Rico tomen una decisión informada.
  • Asegura la implementación de la opción seleccionada por la mayoría de los votos válidos emitidos.


Support for the Puerto Rico Status Act

“The political status of Puerto Rico has been unresolved since we first because a territory of the United States in 1898 and remains a blemish in American democracy. The Puerto Rico Status Act represented a major step forward in resolving, once and for all, the colonial status of Puerto Rico.” Governor Pedro Pierluisi, President of the New Progressive Party 

“The USHCC recognizes that the inequality inherent in Puerto Rico’s current territory status is an impediment to sustainable economic growth. The USHCC was a proud supporter of H.R. 8393, the ‘Puerto Rico Status Act’ that allows Puerto Ricans to decide their own future. This law will provide policymakers with a clear direction for making significant investments in sustainable infrastructure, public education, healthcare, and workforce development, which are crucial for the long-term growth of the Puerto Rican economy.” – United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

"LULAC reaffirms its strong support and will continue to fully and actively support efforts by our fellow United States citizens who reside in Puerto Rico with respect to their legitimate right as U.S. citizens to be able to vote for the President and Vice President of the United States of America, as well as for their corresponding voting members of Congress." – League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)


Support for the Puerto Rico Status Act in 117th Congress (H.R. 8393)

The approval of this legislation would be “a step forward for all Puerto Ricans that aspire to an association with the United States that is worthy, productive, non-colonial, and non-territorial.” “It is time that both nations overcome the current colonial status. Today, Puerto Rico has much less control over the variables that determine its economic development and the exercise of democracy, than when Commonwealth status was created in 1952.” – Former Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá and other public officials who support Free Association 

“This is not my favorite bill, but the importance of one of the two chambers of Congress ratifying legislation that authorizes a plebiscite that excludes territory status as an alternative shouldn’t be diminished.” –  Juan Dalmau, Secretary General of the Puerto Rican Independence Party

“La Alianza pro Libre Asociación Soberana (ALAS), el grupo pionero en defender la Libre Asociación/ELA Soberano, aplaude hoy al Comité de Recursos Naturales de la Cámara de Representantes del Congreso de los EEUU por aprobar el primer proyecto de ley que le ofrece al pueblo de Puerto Rico la posibilidad de seleccionar entre las tres verdaderas opciones para descolonizar al país.” – La Alianza pro Libre Asociación Soberana (ALAS) 

“The Alliance for Sovereign Free Association, the pioneer group in defending Free Association/Sovereign Commonwealth, today applauds the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress for passing the first bill that offers to the people of Puerto Rico the possibility of selecting among the three true options to decolonize the country.” – The Alliance for Free Sovereign Association  See the full letter here.

“The [Puerto Rico Status Act] is a direct acknowledgement of the fact that the current territory status is fundamentally undemocratic and colonial in nature, that it goes directly against America’s founding principles of government by the consent of the governed, and that Congress needs to correct this historic injustice, which has a detrimental impact upon 3.2 million American citizens living under U.S. sovereignty every day.” – Coalition of pro-Statehood organizations See the full letter here.

“The leadership of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico strongly urges you to bring H.R. 8393 to a vote on the Natural Resources Committee and recommend its approval to the House." – Democratic Party of Puerto Rico See the full letter here.

“H.R. 8393, the Puerto Rico Status Act, is a bipartisan compromise Bill which would finally accomplish what the Republican Party Platform has been supporting for 82 years. The Bill is not the ideal we would have chosen, but it does contain the language of the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act (H.R. 1522) that the Puerto Rico Republican Party previously supported, and overall, it provides for a fair, democratic process supported by Congress to provide a realistic and constitutional solution to Puerto Rico’s democratic status aspirations as supported by the Republican National Committee.” – Republican Party of Puerto Rico See the full letter here.