Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since 1898. Why change things now?
For the good of the United States
How can the United States be a champion of democracy around the world when — now that 97% of Puerto Rican voters have said they don’t want to continue as a territory — we are governing millions of people without their consent?
How can we take pride in our patriotic claims to equality and justice when we have 3.5 million people living as second class citizens in Puerto Rico?
How can we continue to think of ourselves as a bastion of human rights when we own an island where people live in poverty, with a shocking rate of violent drug-related crime, and we refuse to give them the chance to improve their situation?
What’s more, by keeping Puerto Rico in a powerless position, we keep the island from succeeding. With a voice, Puerto Rico could contribute more to the Union.
It is time to change this.
For the good of Puerto Rico
Other territories that have become states have seen improvements in their positions. Both Hawaii and Alaska, which joined the Union in 1959, were in poverty before they became states. Now, both states have poverty rates and unemployment rates below the national average.
With the federal support that is provided to states, Puerto Rico would have a chance to improve the infrastructure in ways that would draw employers to the island — and allow Puerto Ricans to build businesses, too.
Increased safety and a stronger economy would keep Puerto Ricans from leaving Puerto Rico for the mainland in such large numbers, and would bring people from the mainland to Puerto Rico. This would help with the problem of an aging population which threatens Puerto Rico now.
The history of every former territory in the Union shows that statehood is beneficial, bringing less violence, a better economy, and a safer place to live than the state enjoyed as a territory.