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Puerto Rican Statehood
Transcript of Puerto Rican Statehood
Relationship with the United States
Puerto Rico SHOULD
Puerto Rico should NOT
Cons of Statehood for US
Pros of Statehood for US
Pros of Statehood
for Puerto Rico
What needs to be done
to become a state?
In 1898 the Spanish lost the Caribbean Island at the end of the Spanish-American War and it came under US control.
In 1917 its people became US citizens-they are allowed to serve in the military but still do not have the right to vote in US presidential elections.
The country is a self-governing territory of the US, but the US Congress and the president have ultimate control, providing services, foreign policy, and defense.
They have a congressional representative who does not have voting rights.
Cons of Statehood
for Puerto Rico
Citizens would have to pay Federal Income tax, from which they are currently exempt.
They would lose much of their national identity.
Puerto Rico would no longer have their own contestant in the Miss Universe Pageant, which they have won three times.
They would also no longer be represented as an independent nation in the Olympics.
Each current state would technically lose some of their influence in Congress. More voting members means each vote counts for less. Also, reapportionment would be necessary for the House of Representatives.
Puerto Ricans, many of whom fall below the poverty line, would be eligible for social services not currently available to them. This costs more money.
Their poverty level also means that they would not contribute to the U.S. substantially through the income tax.
Another star would need to be added to every American flag.
Puerto Rico costs the US over $22 billion a year. As a state, they would contribute $2 billion a year through the Federal Income tax.
It would enrich culture in the US. Examples of famous Puerto Ricans include Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin.
Puerto Ricans would be able to vote in presidential elections.
They would also have voting members in Congress.
They would receive more social services such as unemployment, medicaid, etc. (They currently receive social security and medicare, but they pay for these programs in the same way we do.)
They would have increased opportunity for trade among US states and with US allies.
Their rights would be protected by the Constitution.
Various routes have been taken in the long history of the United States for colonies and territories to become a state. Normally, the area must muster local political support and petition the U.S. Congress for admittance to the Union. The approval process is relatively straightforward. A bill, called an "enabling act," must gain a majority vote in both houses of the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate. When approved, it is signed by the President. Normally there will be provisions in the bill spelling out any transitional measures that must be taken to become a state by either the petitioning entity or the U.S. government. Admission of a state does not change the Constitution. It requires no super majority; nor does it require ratification by the individual states.
Puerto Rico should remain a commonwealth. It is best for both Puerto Rico and the United States. Currently, Puerto Rico has the best of both worlds. They have the economic and defense benefits of belonging to the US without having to pay the Federal Income tax. Also, they can retain their vibrant hispanic culture without interference. Adding another state to the United States without substantial cause is simply not worth it. The other states would lose representation to a state that does not benefit the US enough. While there may come a time when it is appropriate to add Puerto Rico as a state, now is not that time.
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Lozada, Catherine. "Pros and cons of statehood for Puerto Rico." The Queens Courier. Schneps Publications, 11 Jun 2012. Web. 26 Feb 2014. <http://queenscourier.com/2010/pros-and-cons-of-statehood-for-puerto-rico-27144/>.
M. Jacob, Alvarez. The Argument Against Puerto Rican Statehood. 2012. political cartoon. HypnoSpiral Comics, Philadelphia. Web. 27 Feb 2014. <http://www.hypnospiralcomic.com/?webcomic_post=the-case-against-puerto-rican-statehood>.
"Puerto Rico wants to become the 51st state of the US." BBC News US & Canada. BBC, 07 Nov 2012. Web. 26 Feb 2014. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20238272>.
"Statehood Issues." United States Council for Puerto Rico Statehood. United States Council for Puerto Rico Statehood, 2004. Web. 27 Feb 2014. <http://www.prstatehood.com/issues/index.asp>.