Letter to Trett Lott

Honorable Trent Lott
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington D.C.

Dear Senator Lott:

We are writing to urge you to take prompt action on S. 472, a bill which would provide self-determination for Puerto Rico. The 3.8 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico have waited 100 years for the opportunity to determine their permanent political status. We do not think that they should be denied their full civil rights any longer. Justice delayed is justice denied.

The historic vote by the House of Representatives to pass the U.S.-Puerto Rico Political Status Act was the first step for the citizens of Puerto Rico to participate in a meaningful referendum on their permanent political status. The leadership and members of the undersigned Hispanic organizations strongly supported the legislation and are gratified that our voices were heard by a significant number of Republicans and Democrats to obtain its passage. We hope that you will join Speaker Newt Gingrich in providing strong leadership on this important issue. It is critical that the Senate act on this legislation without delay.

The Hispanic Community is committed to self determination for Puerto Rico, as is the great majority of Americans. A recent poll by the Center for Research and Public Policy found that 90% of the Hispanic community supports self-determination for Puerto Rico, and a bipartisan Univision poll released last week concluded that 56% of Hispanics support statehood for Puerto Rico. According to the latter poll, a summary of which is attached, Hispanic voters see self-determination for Puerto Rico as one indicator of the Congressional leadership's willingness to act on issues of importance to one of the fastest growing segments of American society. The poll also concluded that Republican candidates who respond to the concerns of Hispanic voters garner high approval ratings and support from this constituency.

Fidelity to America's promise of equal justice for all demands that we respond to Puerto Ricans' desire for self determination. Although citizens of the United States since 1917, Puerto Ricans have not enjoyed full rights of American citizenship, including the rights to vote for President and Vice President and to have voting representation in Congress. We believe that this injustice should be redressed immediately. Enactment of S. 472 will achieve that just result.

The Hispanic agenda is the American agenda, and Puerto Rican self-determination is a very important part of our agenda. We and our membership respectfully urge you to schedule this legislation for action by the Senate without delay.

Sincerely,

Belen Robles, President, League of United Latin American Citizens
Jose Nino, Former President, U.S. Hispanic, Chamber of Commerce|
Jose Rivera, National Chairman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Elisa Sanchez, President, M.A.N.A, (A National Latina Organization)
Andres Tobar, Executive Director, National Association of Hispanic

Publications
Al Zapanta, Chairman, National Hispanic Policy Forum
Jake Alarid, National Commander, American G.I. Forum

cc: Senate Co-sponsors of S. 472
Co-Chairman and Senate members of the U.S. Senate
Republican Task Force on Hispanic Affairs

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