The people who moved from Puerto Rico to a state and their descendants are “the face of Puerto Rico in the United States,” according to an opinion piece at ABC News.
There are more than 5.7 million Puerto Ricans living in the states now, compared with just about 3.2 million living in Puerto Rico.
All Americans should care about Puerto Rico’s struggle for statehood. As a nation devoted to democracy, we have no business governing without the consent of the governed in Puerto Rico. We can’t trumpet the importance of liberty and justice while we maintain an arguably colonial relationship with Puerto Rico. If we are champions of human rights, we can’t accept leaving millions of U.S. citizens without adequate healthcare, safe water, or passable roads.
Stateside Puerto Ricans have the chance to provide a greater voice for friends and family on the Island.
Puerto Ricans in Congress
There are four legislators in Washington who are stateside Puerto Ricans:
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- Ritchie Torres
- Nydia Velázquez
- Darren Soto
Torres and Soto are both supporters of statehood, and Soto introduced the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act, HR 1522.
Velazquez is aligned with the status quo in Puerto Rico. She can look at Puerto Rico’s experience as an unincorporated territory of the United States and feel confident that she will not have to deal with the consequences. She too lives in a state.
The members of Congress whose families come from Puerto Rico have power. But all the Puerto Ricans who live in the States also have power. The power of their votes. The power to influence their representatives.
If you live in a state you have two senators and multiple members of the House whose job it is to speak up for you. Let them know that Puerto Rico’s status matters to you. Speak up for statehood.