Would a State of Puerto Rico Change U.S. Culture?

Some people who oppose equality for Puerto Ricans argue that it would force Puerto Ricans to abandon their traditions.

Other opponents of equality assert that it would change the population of the United States.

Puerto Ricans and people of Puerto Rican origin are already part of the population of the country. They are 2 2/3% of the national population.

Puerto Rico has been a possession of the United States for 117 years. The United States has made its national laws for all of these years. It made or had a major say in the making of the territory’s local laws for almost half of this time (and it can still make local laws for Puerto Rico).

The territory and its residents are now treated like a State and the residents of a State in most laws.

Many Puerto Ricans have lived in a State for some period before returning to the territory.

There are about five million people of Puerto Rican origin in the States.

Only a few percent of the people of Puerto Rico were not born there.

Puerto Ricans share the values and have absorbed the traditions and cultures of America — a nation of immigrants from around the world as well as pockets of indigenous peoples — but they have not abandoned unique aspects of their culture.

Part of the reason for this is the vast ocean that separates them from Americans in the States. Part is the strength and depth of their traditions.

When Puerto Ricans move to the States, they primarily speak English and adjust their lifestyles. They also, however, retain aspects of their culture as they want.

Like other peoples who have become a part of the American political family, they have helped make American culture what it is today, an amalgam of cultures from around the world bound together by a common belief in freedom, equality, and democracy.

The population of America is constantly evolving. It has changed with territorial acquisitions and waves of immigration from foreign lands and migration within the country. It is constantly developing in contrast to the stagnant cultures of most nations.

It is widely acknowledged that the success of our nation is due to the vitality and ideas of new members of the American community. It is specifically because the U.S. has such a grand variety of cultures living and working together that U.S. culture is what it is. Puerto Rican culture has already been enriching the culture of the U.S. for more than a century.

Statehood is consistent with that fact.

Like other Americans, people of Puerto Rican origin are individuals who decide how to live their lives in this nation of freedom.

The extent to which many, from the territory — or from a State — have continued to embrace their Puerto Rican identity and heritage has not proved to be a problem for 117 years. It would not become one if the Americans of Puerto Rican heritage still resident in Puerto Rico obtained votes in the government that makes their national laws and were treated equally in the relatively few laws in which they are not now treated equally.

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