Statehood supporters in Puerto Rico have been laying a foundation brick by brick, doing the work of democratic self-determination so Puerto Rico can follow in the footsteps of the 32 other territories that have already become states. Over the century and a quarter that Puerto Rico has been a territory,  a broad range of difficult issues have delayed statehood — but all of them are variations of issues overcome by territories that became states.  Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Alaska, and other states were all among the former territories that overcame economic challenges, differences in language and culture, and internal political opposition to statehood to still be admitted as states of the union.

The only real difference between Puerto Rico and former territories that became states is that Congress waited 17 years after it became a territory to grant U.S. citizenship in Puerto Rico. Once citizenship was granted in 1917, Puerto Rico was like the former territories with U.S. citizens treated as “incorporated” and headed for statehood.  That meant Puerto Rico was not like the Philippines, a territory which was treated as “unincorporated” because Congress never granted U.S. citizenship and it was to become an independent nation, not a state.

Majority rule

It was not Congress but the federal courts that wrongly continued to treat Puerto Rico as “unincorporated” after Congress granted U.S. citizenship.  That mistake by the federal courts in 1922 created confusion for many years about Puerto Rico’s choices for a permanent post-territory status.  But that confusion under outdated court rulings no longer controls Puerto Rico’s future status choices.  That is because in 2012, 2017, and again in 2020 the majority of the U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico voted for statehood — and thereby established a democratic truth, which is that Puerto Rico is now on track to follow in the steps of 32 former territories that became states.

Like all former territories that have become states,  Puerto Rico has a U.S. citizen population that has chosen statehood by a clear majority.  In those 32 other former territories there was strong opposition to statehood by powerful interests, but once citizenship has been granted, there is no status that creates equal citizenship other than statehood. It is territorial status that restricts the rights of citizenship in Puerto Rico, and it is statehood that redeems the promise of equal rights with all other citizens in all states of the union.

Independent nationhood is a legal option for Puerto Rico, but it received less than 5% of the votes in 2012.  As in the case of Puerto Rico, there were supporters of nationhood in Vermont, Texas, Alaska, Hawaii and other former territories that became states.  But in all 32 territories and now in Puerto Rico equal rights of U.S. citizenship under statehood was chosen by a majority over separate nationhood without U.S. citizenship.

Like many other former territories that became states, in Puerto Rico special interests thriving under territory status have tried to delay change indefinitely, even proposing that territory status with local autonomy is better than statehood.  In Puerto Rico, the option of continuing territory status and seeking greater local autonomy failed to win majority approval in 1993 and 1998 status votes, and now in 2012 a clear majority voted to end territory status in favor of statehood.

Puerto Rico is ready

So it is not that the people of Puerto Rico want to continue to benefit from U.S. citizenship without full and equal rights and duties of citizens in the states.  It is the special interests profiting from territorial status who are trying to use political tactics in Puerto Rico and Washington who are trying to delay the moment of democratic truth that Puerto Rico is now ready to join 32 former territories that became states.

Puerto Ricans have proven that readiness by serving in the U.S. military at a higher rate than many states for more than a century.  Contrary to inaccurate reports, our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico pay billions in federal taxes every year, with limited exemptions offset by lower federal benefits than the states receive.

Congress granted citizenship in Puerto Rico, but failed to treat Puerto Rico like the former territories in which citizenship meant incorporation leading to statehood.  Now Puerto Rico has petitioned for statehood and is still waiting for Congress to define terms of admission.   Every U.S. territory populated by U.S. citizens that has petitioned through democratically elected representatives for statehood, or which has voted for statehood, has been admitted.

It is time for Puerto Rico’s petition for statehood to be honored, and for Congress to establish the terms for admission as it did for 32 other former territories that became states.



One response

  1. TO: US Congress; US President; US Federal/Supreme Court; US Citizens-Patriots
    EQUAL US Citizenship for ALL; END PR’s Federal UNDEMOCRATIC Status! (Summary)
    Since 1898 (for over 125+ years), the Federal Government has kept the US Territory of Puerto Rico (PR)-(with more US Citizens than 21 States) under undemocratic control (with NO Federal “consent of the governed”) as we demand Equal Rights-Fairness for all “WE THE PEOPLE”; revocation of unjust Laws; a NON-Territorial Status!

    Focus on FACTS–Today, millions of 2d class US Citizens-US Veterans (part of “We the People”) in PR have—
    NO Vote for US President; NO just Representation in US Congress; NO Parity in Federal Laws, Programs, or Funding (like for Veterans, Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, Infrastructure, Education, SSI, and other programs) that other US Citizens fully get; NO permanent statutory US Citizenship (even if moving to a State)…!

    Plus, the Federal Government unfairly controls PR’s Borders, Currency, Laws, Security, Economy, Trade, etc.—under the old Territorial Clause (of 1787); unjust racist Insular Cases (of 1901-1925+); other biased Laws—where, incongruently, the US Constitution is not fully applied to US Citizens-US Veterans in Puerto Rico!

    Besides, Puerto Ricans face a magna CRISIS and Exodus to the States–which major ROOT components are-bad Economy-Jobs, Security, Infrastructure, and unfair Territorial Status—where each PART affects the other. The Federal undemocratic Territorial status affects everything; brings instability…; ties PR’s Hands to fairly compete-grow the Economy; limits progress; goes against our US Democratic core values & principles; is Un-American!
    The Federal Government should be the Servant of ALL the People; NOT the Master of some!
    This is a Patriotic just cause! The People with Equal US Citizenship/ Rights come first, not a “separate & unequal” Status! In our US Republic, the power should reside with all “We the People” (made up by Individuals)–per our Declaration of Independence that calls for “Consent of the Governed”; noble US Constitution that calls for Equal Rights-Fairness, and a Republican form of Government or a Representative Democracy!
    “NO Federal VOTE or just Representation; results in NO Democracy or a Tyranny of a Majority!”
    Our Federal Government can end this unjust inequity now, but, has not done so! It incongruently does not act to end PR’s Federal undemocratic Territorial Status; or amend/ revoke unjust-unequal Laws that limit Progress. Instead, some Generalize; politically distort; provide biased/racist EXCUSES that blame the Victim; create double standards not applied to Others-resulting in confusion & stalemate that perpetuates Federal subjugation!
    Puerto Ricans Sacrifice & Contribute to our USA since 1513!
    Hispanic US Puerto Ricans (PR) are about 10m strong (most live in the States) as they are integrated; greatly sacrifice, and loyally contribute (in all fields of endeavor) to our diverse USA; have patriotically shed sweat, blood, and tears for our US Flag (WWI; WW-II; Korea; Vietnam; Global War on Terrorism). Also, PR has a better GDP than 14 States; pays more Federal taxes than 6 States; is a US Market that creates about a million US Jobs…
    PR Ancestors (1st Governor of PR/Crew) came from PR to Florida (in 1513)-107 years before the Pilgrims; others fought in the US War of Independence (1776); brought Christianity and other good things to our now USA.
    Silence to discrimination; supports injustice!
    US Citizens in PR have voted to END the Territorial-Colonial Status, per local Plebiscites (2012, 2017 & 2020) where Statehood won; Independence got only 2-5% of the Vote… Puerto Ricans have proven loyalty to our US; cherish their US Citizenship! Yet, Congress doesn’t do Right for Equal Citizenship!
    FIX: Take Civic ACTION-get our Federal Government to: ensure Equal US Citizenship-Rights; END Federal undemocratic control of PR; do a PR Plebiscite on viable Non-Territorial Options which only are:
    STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (Without or With a Free Association Pact)
    Our US (a diverse Union of Sovereign States) is the best in the World—where each State complements each other; is stronger than by itself …! UNITED, under US Constitution/Flag, brings more Progress–for the Good of All!
    “En la UNIÓN está la Fuerza!”
    Only Statehood guarantees a permanent statutory US Citizens (even if residing in a State)! Thus, all statutory US Citizens have a Stake in the Fight as our US Congress must also, protect them in any Plebiscite!
    “Equality for a more perfect UNION!”
    Hispanic-Puerto Ricans are being treated unjustly by their Federal Government-Legislative, Executive & Judicial-that, at times, misinterpret our US Constitution that today, WE OWN! Plus, some Politicians say: “All People are Equal” but, mean: “Some People (in power) are more Equal than Others”! In our US Republic– the power should reside with “a Government of the People, by the People, and for the People” (President Lincoln)!
    “Patriots call for EQUALITY; FAIRNESS; JUSTICE!”
    You can’t have both ways (either support Equality or discrimination)! THE TIME IS NOW for Civic ACTION: demand our Federal Government ensures Equal US Citizenship-Civil Rights; a Representative Democracy for all:
    1. Short Term-Let the People VOTE-Do a PR Plebiscite on properly defined/viable Non-Territorial Options:
    *STATEHOOD-MEANS: Admission to our diverse “UNION of STATES”– under US Constitution/ Laws/ Democracy; EQUAL US Citizenship with full Rights, Benefits, and Responsibilities; with PR-STATE Identity, Constitution, Flag, Sovereignty… as other States & other US Citizens have…
    *INDEPENDENCE- MEANS: Puerto Rico National Sovereignty; PR Constitution/Laws, PR Citizenship…; with loss of US Constitution & statutory US Citizenship, Rights, and Benefits…
    *INDEPENDENCE with Free Association PACT-MEANS: Puerto Rico National Sovereignty; PR Constitution/ Laws, PR Citizenship…; with loss of US Constitution & statutory US Citizenship, Rights, and Benefits… But, with a negotiated PACT between Independent Nations on Terms (like trade, defense, etc.) that can be terminated by either side.
    2. Revoke un-just Laws (like the racist “Insular Cases”, 1920 Jones Act…); Incorporate Puerto Rico.
    3. Amend US Constitution (USC); adopt: “US Citizens’ Equal Rights-Protection Clause” that treats all US Citizens equally-no matter the residency, under our noble US Flag! (Enclosed Draft)
    4. Revoke or Amend the “Territorial Clause” with a “Status” limit; more rights, etc. (Enclosed Draft)
    UNITED-with Truth, Reason, and Civic Action for the Good of All-Family, USA, and Humanity!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for our newsletter!

We will send you news about Puerto Rico and the path to statehood. No spam, just useful information about this historic movement.