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Should Puerto Rico Be the U.S. 51st State?
It seems every so often, Puerto Ricans vote on whether this wonderful place should be America's 51st state. The island has around four million of mostly Spanish descent and since 1917, it has been part of America's territories, like Guam. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and they control their own local governments, much like a state does but the final approval or not is voted on in the U.S. Congress. Going there is much like anywhere in the USA, it looks American but feels Spanish, its a great mix. English is all over but so is Spanish-much like the US border states along Mexico.
So, the odd thing is that although they are U.S. citizens, they are not allowed to vote in U.S. Presidential elections. Does anyone know why? Makes no sense. Puerto Ricans are a proud and independent people, however, the economy is $68 billion in debt with an unemployment of 13%. Another oddity- Puerto Ricans CAN vote in the U.S. Presidential elections if they leave the island and move to the mainland. Was this the case with Hawaii before 1959?
The governor of Puerto Rico and his party are in favor of being the 51st state, the opposition party simply wants it to remain a territory. Neither party wants to break away and become their own country.
The only real benefits of becoming a state is beings able vote in national elections, having senators from the island in Washington and having to pay federal income taxes each year, which they are exempt of now. Of course, the island would get access to other governmental programs and help, but other than that, not much else. But to many residents there, they already feel or consider themselves American and not having to pay annual taxes to the US government is a good reason to remain as a "territory". Duh!