Inequality in Puerto Rico

The people of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States, and Puerto Rico is a possession of the United States. Therefore, you would think, Puerto Rico gets all the benefits of being part of the U.S., just as States do.

That’s not the case.

  • Medicaid  spends $1,807 per enrollee in Puerto Rico vs. $5,790 in the States, and Medicare spends $5,208 per person served vs. $8,700 in the States.
  • Puerto Rico is not included in grant distribution for highways, but is included in penalties that reduce highway funding. It did not receive funding increases a couple of years ago when States were awarded funding increases through 2020.
  • Puerto Rico also receives lower funding levels for schools, support for individuals with disabilities, food stamps, and a broad range of other federal programs than it would if it were a State.

Why is Puerto Rico treated unfairly?

First, because it’s legal to do this. States have rights and responsibilities spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, but Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory belonging to the U.S., can legally be treated differently from the States. Congress doesn’t have to treat Puerto Rico equally, so they don’t.

Second, because Puerto Rico doesn’t have as strong a voice in the political process. The Resident Commissioner, Puerto Rico’s only representative in the legislature, can’t vote on bills. Puerto Ricans can’t vote for the president, either. Since the federal government represents voters, Puerto Rico just doesn’t get as much representation.

If you live in the States, tell your senators and congressional representatives that you want equality for Puerto Rico. Click the sentence below, add your representatives’ handles, and tweet to Congress.

I vote and I care about Puerto Rico.
yes

What can be done about this?

Contact your legislators, for one thing. We believe that they will listen to their voters.

Support statehood, for another. If Puerto Rico had a couple of senators and a handful of congressmen, they would be able to make changes for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico would also have the same rights as all the other States. This is the real solution to Puerto Rico’s problems.

I vote and I support statehood for Puerto Rico.
yes

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