Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state? | The Tylt
Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state?
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is strongly in favor of statehood. He argues it will reinvigorate the economy and help to "solve our 500-year-old colonial dilemma." He calls statehood an issue of morality and civil rights, and says Puerto Rico's serious economic struggles are a direct results of colonialism.
“If we compare ourselves with the other 50 states, the fundamental difference is our lack of rights, our lack of participation, and our lack of resources to move our jurisdiction forward,” he said. “Our colonial condition creates a situation of incredible inequality.”
Economic and cultural arguments aside, statehood has never been a real option for Puerto Rico. Indeed, Puerto Rico’s status as an unincorporated territory means that it “belongs to, but is not part of the U.S.” And that is unlikely to change. A Republican-controlled Congress would never admit Puerto Rico—with its massive debt and overwhelmingly Democratic (and non-white, Spanish-speaking) voting base—into the Union, even if such a determination is made by the island’s residents.
Others oppose statehood on the grounds that joining the United States could mean sacrificing the island’s national identity. Many Puerto Ricans are skeptical of statehood, saying formal inclusion in the union would bring Puerto Ricans more taxes but do little to solve pressing issues of unemployment, healthcare and housing.
But independence has never been a majority position of Puerto Ricans. Increasingly, its citizens want statehood.