The Americas

US to Puerto Rico: Add another option to status referendum

Puerto Ricans who want their island to remain a U.S. territory just got a boost from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The federal Department of Justice said Thursday that an upcoming referendum to decide the future of Puerto Rico's political status should include the current status as an option.

A draft of the ballot submitted by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello only included two options: statehood or independence.

The Justice Department also said the draft contains ambiguous and potentially misleading statements, and that it cannot provide $2.5 million in federal funds to hold the referendum.

The announcement is considered a blow to Rossello's pro-statehood party. Rossello tweeted that he still plans to hold the referendum on June 11. He recently campaigned on a pledge to secure statehood.