Judge: Denying Puerto Ricans access to social protection programs is unconstitutional

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A federal judge ruled unconstitutional to deny Puerto Ricans access to social protection programs, The Associated Press reported.Monday’s decision also granted a two-month administrative suspension of the injunction at the request of the federal government, which means that, for the time being, the decision will not apply unilaterally.

U.S. District Judge William G. Young, a person named by Reagan, wrote in a A 70-page ruling that denying Puerto Ricans access to federal benefits is a discriminatory policy.

In the ruling, Young noted that residents of other U.S. territories, such as the Northern Mariana Islands, are eligible for federal benefits.

The Northern Mariana Islands have a population of 56,882, compared to 3.2 million people who live in Puerto Rico, which also has a poverty rate of 43%.

“There is no question that the constitutional violations here are systemic,” Young wrote.

The federal government argued that it would be too costly to provide the same benefits to the island.

Legal experts told the AP that the government would likely appeal the ruling given the amount of money at stake if it were required to provide Puerto Ricans with equal government benefits.

Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (right), the island’s representative in Congress, applauded the court’s decision, calling the withholding of benefits “disgusting.”

“The result of this case is a natural extension of what was resolved in the case of Vaello Madero: the exclusion of residents of [Puerto Rico] of federal charitable programs available to other US citizens is contrary to basic tenets of our Constitution, ”she wrote.



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