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Author: William-Jose Velez

UPDATED: HR 2000 gets James Clyburn as cosponsor

In a surprising move, Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) has signed on as one of the 95 cosponsors of HR 2000, the Puerto Rico Status Resolution Act introduced by Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR). Clyburn has been aligned with the Popular Democratic Party, opposing any measures promoted by the New Progressive Party. The relationship between Clyburn and the PPD has been such that Clyburn appeared in a 2004 campaign video endorsing then PPD gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila, and was part of the group of congressional democratic leadership who helped bring about the death of HR 900 back in 2008....

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US House Appropriations Committee approves funding for status plebiscite

The United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations approved today the Commerce, Justice, Sciences and Related Agencies Funding Bill for fiscal year 2014, which includes language from the proposed presidential budget, allocating $2.5 million to solve the political status of Puerto Rico, announced Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi. the announcement came following news that the language was not included in the US Senate version of the bill. Comité federal aprobó el proyecto que incluye lenguaje del presupuesto presidencial asignando $2.5 millones para resolver el estatus de PR — Pedro Pierluisi (@pedropierluisi) July 17, 2013 The report of the committee that accompanies the bill establishes that the US Department of Justice will only the disburse the funds to the State Elections Commission of Puerto Rico after a period of 45 days following the notification from the DOJ to the corresponding congressional committees that it has approved the plan of the commission for electoral education and for the electoral process, including the approval of the ballot. The DOJ will have to certify to Congress that the ballot and the materials to educate voters are compatible with the Constitution, laws and the public policy of the United States. “We keep moving forward in the fight to obtain the dignified, democratic status with equality of rights that we deserve. I am satisfied with the language of the bill, since it shows that the...

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Janet Napolitano steps down as Homeland Security Secretary to head University of California

US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced she will step down from her position, to accept the presidency of the University of California system. The story was initially published by the Los Angeles Times, which reported about the secretive process underwent by the Board of Regents in selecting and hiring Napolitano as the system’s first female president. The resignation comes as a surprising event, in the middle of the immigration reform debate in Congress. Whoever is selected as Napolitano’s successor will be tasked with implementing immigration reform if and when it passes the houses of Congress. The secretary issued a statement in which she said:  “For more than four years I have had the privilege of serving President Obama and his Administration as the Secretary of Homeland Security. The opportunity to work with the dedicated men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, who serve on the frontlines of our nation’s efforts to protect our communities and families from harm, has been the highlight of my professional career. We have worked together to minimize threats of all kinds to the American public. The Department has improved the safety of travelers; implemented smart steps that make our immigration system more fair and focused while deploying record resources to protect our nation’s borders; worked with states to build resiliency and make our nation’s emergency and disaster response...

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House Subcommittee approves funding for Puerto Rico status plebiscite

The  United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies has approved the CJS Appropriations bill which includes language providing for the request of President Barack Obama of $2.5 million to celebrate a status plebiscite in Puerto Rico, and an education campaign on the status options available. The language was included with the backing of Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY). Serrano indicated that “this funding is an important step forward in resolving Puerto Rico’s status.  It is clear that the current colonial status of Puerto Rico must change, and that a majority of the Puerto Rican people feel that this unequal status cannot continue.   I am pleased that the CJS subcommittee has taken a giant step forward in that process.” The move had been celebrated by Puerto Rico’s non-voting Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), who said he thanked the subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and the Ranking Member Chaka Fattah (D-PA) for including the measure in the bill. Pierluisi also tweeted today that he personally thanked the President for his petition for Congressional funding of a new plebiscite, after forming part of a meeting on immigration reform with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Le agradecí personalmente al Presidente su petición de que se asignen fondos para resolver el problema de nuestro estatus — Pedro Pierluisi (@pedropierluisi) July 10, 2013 The bill now goes to the full appropriations committee for a...

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New Progressive Party to sue Puerto Rico Government

Following the uncovering of the illegal lobbying scheme by the Government of Puerto Rico as uncovered in soyPATRIA, the New Progressive Party President and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi has announced the party will sue to stop the practice, following the confirmation of the practice by the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration. Pierluisi, while present in the 2013 Convention of the NPP Youth in Cidra, Puerto Rico, stated that he had directed the party lawyers to draft a law suit to be filed in trial court. “Today we have learned that the person that directs the office of Puerto Rico in Washington, Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral, admitted publicly that public funds are being utilized to go against the will of our people, and to visit members of the federal Senate to tell them among other things that statehood did not win in the past plebiscite and to defend the current status, to go against what the people already decided. Who gets the most amount of votes in a plebiscite or electoral process if who wins, and the people of Puerto Rico spoke clearly in the plebiscite. Statehood won” indicated Pierluisi. The NPP president had in fact warned since the beginning of the term that he would follow this course of action should the current territorial administration use lobbyists for the purpose of lobbying against the plebiscite results. Such a course of...

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