Puerto Rico is in trouble. The Island’s debts are “unpayable” according to the governor, unemployment is high, and people are leaving. We believe that statehood is the real solution to the problems in Puerto Rico, since these problems have been caused by Puerto Rico’s colonial status.
In the conversations we have with people in social media and in person, we do not hear many people say they prefer the current status to statehood. We hear them saying that they don’t think statehood is possible. Congress, they say, will not allow Puerto Rico to become a state.
But we have heard members of Congress say that Puerto Rico should become a state. We have seen the voters of Puerto Rico choose statehood. And we believe that the American people as a whole would rather have a 51st state than a colony.
32 territories have already become States. Each time, the territory has had to struggle to become a State.
As Howard Hills wrote in his forthcoming book, Citizens without a State, the Congress of the United States has had to figure out each time how to create a permanent relationship between the United States and the territory it governed. In each case, statehood was the answer.
“Statehood,” Hills wrote, “is the only political status through which U.S. citizens can acquire and secure permanently equal rights and duties of national and State citizenship under the Constitution. For constitutionally, any form of territorial government and territorial status itself is purely temporary.”
Puerto Rico has been a territory for a very long time, longer than any of the others. But Utah was a territory for 46 years. Alaska was a territory for 47 years.
All the territories have become States only by the action of Congress. Puerto Rico also will become a State only through the action of Congress. In order to get Congress to take action, every territory had to speak up. Tennessee actually elected Congressmen and sent them to Washington to show how serious they were about becoming a State.
There is no other way to achieve statehood. Only Congress can make a state. There is no better time to speak up than now. Use the Sound Off at right to tweet to your representative. Send an email to your representative. Make sure that the people who represent you know that it is time to make a permanent status for Puerto Rico.You have a voice. Demand action for Puerto Rico.