“If we do nothing,” Rep. Don Young asked when he chaired the recent hearing on Puerto Rico’s status and economy, “where do you see Puerto Rico in 20 years?”
Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi said, “We’ll keep losing people to the states.”
Puerto Rico’s population has been falling drastically as people vote with their feet for statehood, coming to States in the U.S. in record numbers.
Rep. Young suggested that Puerto Rico might have a revolution if nothing is done over the next 20 years, and Rubén Berríos, the leader of the Independence Party, suggested that people might become more and more attracted to statehood.
These are three very different answers.
Rep. Pierluisi’s prediction is a fairly safe bet. The Pew Research Center sees ongoing migration from Puerto Rico to the States, and so does the U.S. Census Bureau. A new report commissioned by Puerto Rico’s government predicts that the continuing loss of population will make economic growth harder for Puerto Rico.
Berríos also has strong support for his idea that more and more people will favor statehood. The plebiscites that have been held in Puerto Rico have seen the desire for statehood increase, until the 2012 vote showed 61% in favor of statehood.
Fortunately, we do not have to accept the idea that nothing will be done for another 20 years. Action is being taken. Let your legislators know that you want to see ongoing action on Puerto Rico’s status, culminating in Statehood for Puerto Rico.