Makayla, from New Britain Consolidated School District in Connecticut, wrote to us.
“I think this is so helpful in class,” she wrote. “I did a debate about Puerto Rico if it should be a state or not and my team won because of you.”
Since it was in the comment section, you might have missed it, but Makayla and her team made some excellent points, so we are sharing it here, in her and her team’s own words.
Here it is:
While other acquired territories were annexed and eventually became states, Puerto Rico was maintained as an “unincorporated territory.” Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii were admitted as states after the U.S. acquired Puerto Rico.
Proponents of statehood, including the island’s other major party, the New Progressive Party, say it would finally make Puerto Ricans full citizens. Additionally, the island could receive up to $12.5 billion more in federal benefits, including Medicare and Medicaid, according to recent estimates. I think Puerto Rico should be a state. Puerto Rico could get $12.5 billion but we can’t if you do not make us a state!!!
Three Reasons Puerto Rico Should Become the 51st State
Puerto Ricans would live better, on their own turf, a win-win for all.
The current situation is holding Puerto Ricans back. As of 2021, Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate rested at 8.8%. Before Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, it was estimated that roughly 46% of Puerto Ricans were living below the poverty line; in addition, the number of Puerto Ricans who immigrated to mainland U.S. increased by a third in 2018. Those leaving over the past decade are in search of better employment opportunities.
In becoming a U.S. state, Puerto Ricans could enjoy both the benefits associated with statehood and the tools needed to develop their own industry and workforce on the island. Statehood would increase local job opportunities, bring about income creation benefits and enable locals to receive better health care, which they are already paying for, but do not currently benefit from. What’s more, with Puerto Ricans enjoying statehood benefits from the comfort of their own homes, they would be able to pursue – and live – the American Dream in their own country.
Puerto Ricans deserve a say in the laws that affect them
If, according to American history, “all men are equal in the eyes of the law,” then why don’t Puerto Ricans have equal say in the laws they must uphold? The U.S. currently controls Puerto Rico’s external affairs and federal regulations, yet Puerto Ricans are ineligible to vote in the U.S. presidential elections and have only one non-voting representative in the House.
With almost three million citizens living in Puerto Rico, U.S. statehood would enable Puerto Ricans to be represented by two Senators. They would also be allowed to vote in U.S. federal elections and on issues, bills and reforms that affect them.
The U.S. would be able to fight tax evasion more effectively
The United States does not impose any federal income tax on U.S. citizens who are residents of the island and profit from Puerto Rican sources. Adding Puerto Rico to the U.S. state register would require these citizens residing and working in Puerto Rico to pay federal income taxes, significantly boosting the Federal Reserve’s annual revenues.
This would also mean that American companies would no longer be able to move their businesses offshore to Puerto Rico to evade taxes, a current and significant problem in the U.S. Making Puerto Rico a state would limit accessible corporate corruption channels significantly. It might also make it easier to oversee and/or control how U.S. government funds are actually being utilized there and could prevent local government corruption.
Thank you, New Britain school!
We appreciate seeing the thoughtful work of our fellow statehood advocates of all ages. We think it is clear that given accurate information, people will end up on the right side of history.