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MEET THE CHAIRMEN'S TEST. THEY SHOULD STAND AS WRITTEN SO

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WILL BE WELL INFORMED OF WHAT STATEHOOD MEANS UNDER THIS

DEFINITION. THEY WILL KNOW THAT STATEHOOD WILL END THEIR

SECOND CLASS US CITIZENSHIP, THAT THEY WILL BE ABLE TO VOTE

FOR PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, THAT UNITED STATES

CITIZENSHIP FOR THOSE BORN IN PUERTO RICAN WLL FOREVER BE

GUARANTEED, THAT THERE WILL BE FULL FUNDING OF FEDERAL

PROGRAMS, THAT LIKE ALL OTHER STATES OF THE UNION PUERTO

RICO CAN CONTINUE TO HAVE BOTH ENGLISH AND SPANISH AS ITS

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES.

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REQUIRE A STATE OF PUERTO RICO TO ADOPT ENGLISH AS ITS

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OPPONENTS TO UNDERMINE HR 856 BY DENYING THEN PEOPLE OF

PUERTO RICO THE CHANCE FOR A FAIR STATUS VOTE.

LASTLY, THE CONSTITUTION ASIDE, WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE IN THIS

SHRINKING WORLD THAT BUILDING LINGUISTIC BRIDGES WILL

ENRICH THIS NATION.

OUR REPUBLICAN PARTY'S PLATFORM AGREES: “WE ADVOCATE

FOREIGN LANGUAGE TRAINING IN OUR SCHOOLS AND RETENTION OF

HERITAGE LANGUAGES IN HOMES AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FLUENCY IS ALSO AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF

AMERICA'S COMPETITIVENESS IN THE WORLD MARKET.”

THUS WE SHOULD FOSTER INCREASED LANGUAGE EDUCATION

THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES TO PROVIDE OUR CURRENT AND

FUTURE BUSINESS AND POLITICAL LEADERS WITH MULTI-LINGUAL

FACILITIES.

SIMILARLY, AR 856 WISELY SEEKS TO PROMOTE INCREASED

UNDERSTANDING AND USE OF ENGLISH IN PUERTO RICO. A LANGUAGE

SKILL NOT ONLY NECESSARY TO PARTICIPATE FULLY IN AMERICAN

SOCIETY BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS A TOOL FOR COMMERCIAL

SUCCESS.

IN CONCLUSION, THE COMMITTEE IS TO BE COMMENDED FOR ITS

EFFORTS AND ENCOURAGED TO HAVE THE BILL PASSED BY THE FULL

HOUSE AS IT NOW STANDS. ANY LAST MINUTE ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE

THE BILL IN ANY WAY SHOULD BE VIEWED WITH HEALTHY

SKEPTICISM SINCE, MORE LIKELY THAN NOT, THESE EFFORTS WILL

BE UNDERTAKEN WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF EITHER DEFEATING

THE LEGISLATION OR COMPROMISING THE PLEBISCITE'S OUTCOME

IN ADVANCE.

PUERTO RICO IS AMERICA'S LONGEST HELD TERRITORY TO HAVE

NEITHER BECOME A STATE NOR GAINED ITS INDEPENDENCE.

PUERTO RICO STANDS AS AN ANOMALY TO THE REST OF THE FREE

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PUERTO RICO HAS ENDURED HALF A MILLENNIUM OF COLONIAL

RULE. PUERTO RICO MUST, IT DEMANDS, THAT IT ENTER THE NEW

MILLENNIUM IN FULL CONTROL OF ITS DESTINY AS EITHER A STATE

OR AS AN INDEPENDENT NATION.

PASSAGE OF THE UNITED STATES-PUERTO RICO POLITICAL STATUS

ACT WILL SERVE AMERICA AND PUERTO RICO WELL, AT HOME AND

ABROAD.

THANK YOU.

Mr. KENNEDY. I would like to have Etienne Totti del Valle.

STATEMENT OF ETIENNE TOTTI DEL VALLE, ESQUIRE, SAN

JUAN, PUERTO RICO
Mr. TOTTI DEL VALLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I know you must be tired, and I appreciate your patience. If you are tired after several hours of this, imagine how the people of Puerto Rico feel after centuries of the same old debate.

I earnestly hope what I have to say will do honor to the generations as proud as I am of our heritage and loyalty to the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, who have passed from this life with the unanswered hope of leaving a legacy of true democracy and equality for the future generations of our beloved boriquen.

Let us consider some objective facts. In 1917, the Jones Act granted U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans. The logical and natural expectation that this would lead to incorporation of the island into the United States and therefore to statehood was soon derailed by the U.S. decision in the Supreme Court of People v. Balzac, which branded Puerto Rico as an unincorporated territory.

This is my passport. It is no different from the passport of millions of fellow citizens that reside in the 50 States. Our citizenship is unqualified. In this regard, I respectfully urge the Committee to reconsider the drafting of Finding 2 in Section 2 of H.R. 856, specifically where it states that Congress extended—and I quote_special statutory U.S. citizenship to persons born in Puerto Rico.

The Jones act made no reference to special citizenship. Three generations of Puerto Ricans in my family have proudly served in the Armed Forces of our Nation. Just as our passports are no different, our uniforms are no different. We have no labels allusive to special statutory citizenship.

We are indeed special in many ways, but from the standpoint of citizenship, we Puerto Ricans are as strong as the strongest link that bonds the proud people of the United States of America.

Labeling our citizenship as special can foster misunderstanding. Those of us born in Puerto Rico after the 2nd of March, 1917, were born citizens of our great and glorious Nation. Puerto Rican Americans have died in the stars and stripes uniform since before you were born.

Nearly 4 million citizens live in Puerto Rico. The number of Puerto Ricans living in the mainland has been estimated at 2.5 million. The population of the United States at last count did not reach 300 million.

It is a fact that more than 1 out of every 50 U.S. citizens alive today is Puerto Rican. More than 1 out of every 80 Americans lives in Puerto Rico. It is time, once and for all, to debunk the myth that Puerto Ricans are, apbjectively speaking, anything other than U.S. citizens.

Subjective identity is another matter. No single subjective identity, whether based on ethnicity, culture, religion, or origin, is incompatible with U.S. citizenship.

As a former chief justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, Emilio del Toro in 1911 wrote: The United States of America was founded upon such stable principles as would permit the conglom

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