There is no question that Statehood would benefit Puerto Rico. Not only do we have the historical evidence showing that territories that become States become more prosperous, but we also know that States get more support from the federal government than territories do. Since States have more political power than territories and more influence over the Congress, we can be sure that Puerto Rico would have a stronger voice as a State than it currently has.
Puerto Rico’s current financial crisis proves that the current status isn’t working out for the Island.
But what does Puerto Rico have to offer the United States? Will having Puerto Rico as the 51st State be good for the U.S.?
Short answer: yes. Here’s a sampling of the goodies Puerto Rico has to offer the United States:
- Cultural enrichment. Puerto Rico’s culture is already enriching the United States, since there are currently five million people of Puerto Rican descent living on the U.S. mainland. Puerto Ricans are the second largest Hispanic group in the U.S., after Mexican-Americans. Statehood will bring increased awareness and appreciation of Puerto Rico’s culture across the nation.
- Natural resources. Puerto Rico has mineral deposits including copper, nickel, oil, and natural gas. As a State, Puerto Rico will be in a stronger position to harvest these minerals. Puerto Rico is also an ideal area for various kinds of renewable energy. Texas provides wind farms that benefit the nation as a whole and bring money into the State, and Puerto Rico has the capacity to do the same.
- Rain forest. El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System.
- Coral reefs. Puerto Rico is also home to coral reefs as well as many other specialized habitats. These locations provide opportunities for research as well as for tourism.
- People. The people of Puerto Rico already serve as an important resource for the United States, serving in the military in impressive numbers and taking their places on the national stage. As a State, Puerto Rico would make it easier for U.S. businesses to connect with the Island’s educated, bilingual workforce.
True, the United States already benefits from Puerto Rico’s resources. As a State, however, Puerto Rico would be in a stronger position to make other States aware of the partnership opportunities that exist — and more of those opportunities would exist.