Is there a Reason Puerto Rico Should Not Be a State?

A political candidate recently told us that he supports statehood for Puerto Rico. “They have to vote for it, though,” he said.

We pointed out that Puerto Rico has already voted for statehood twice, and has officially requested statehood.

“Well then they get it,” the candidate said. “What’s the hold up?”

What’s the hold up?

The Puerto Rico Statehood Admissions Bill is still in committee. This is part of the process with a new bill.

Statehood will benefit Puerto Rico and the United States by strengthening Puerto Rico’s economy. It will support the position of the United States as a champion of democracy. It will end the powerless position of Puerto Rico as an unincorporated territory and give the 3.4 million U.S. citizens living on the Island full participation in American Democracy.

So why would anyone be opposed to statehood for Puerto Rico?

This is the most common statement against statehood for Puerto Rico that we see:

So the anti-statehood crowd at our Facebook page is not very articulate.

Are there any real reasons to be against statehood for Puerto Rico?

Here are some real reasons:

  • Some people sincerely want independence for Puerto Rico. These people mostly do not live in Puerto Rico and would not be affected by independence. “It’s easy to be against statehood,” as Rep. Jose Serrano said, “if you live in a state.” The people of Puerto Rico have never voted for statehood. No pro-independence governor has ever been elected. This is a reason, but it is not a good reason. It is a romantic fantasy.
  • Some people worry about having too many Democrats in Congress. Many previous territories have gone through this kind of argument. Congress in the hands of Republicans would support a territory they thought might be Republican, and vice versa. But one thing we know: guessing whether a territory will be a red or blue state doesn’t work. Hawaii was expected to be a red state. Alaska was expected to be a blue state. It worked out the other way. Again, this is not a good reason.
  • Some say Puerto Rico is too poor to become a state. Wealth has never been a requirement for statehood. There may be people who are so hard-hearted, greedy and un-American that they are unwilling to help a territory in financial difficulty. But many territories have been in financial difficulty. As states, they have all become more prosperous. What people who make this argument don’t realize is that the United States is already responsible for Puerto Rico. The United States owns Puerto Rico. This is not a good reason.

There are, or have been, people who imagined that the United States would eventually agree to “enhanced commonwealth.” Every branch of the United States government has said firmly and repeatedly that this will never happen. This is not a real reason.

We have to conclude that there are no good reasons to reject statehood for Puerto Rico. Do you think that your congressperson knows this? Does he or she understand that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States? Does he or she know that Puerto Rico has formally requested statehood? Contact your congressperson. Make sure they know the truth.

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