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The Puerto Rico Statehood Question

Updated on May 28, 2013

Since 1917, Puerto Rico has endured the ongoing question of becoming America's 51st State. The solution seems to be eluding both the US Congress and Puerto Ricans. Is it that they simply cannot make a decision about this?

In 1917, the funny thing is all Puerto Ricans are US Citizens! Okay, so that is like the illegals crossing the border so there is no immigration issue there at all. The island even has its own Democratic representative in Congress. Okay, that is not the issue either. The island's two main languages are English and Spanish. Though, Spanish is dominant, nearly all can speak some English and it is taught in all schools. Okay, so the linguistics is not an issue either.

PR has 11 million people and many US firms have their offices there. Last fall, a national poll was taken and for the first time, locals stated that they wanted to be a state and not a commonwealth. This was the first time its citizens voted Yes to be America's 51st state. Okay, that finally is not the problem either.

Its residents do not have to pay federal income taxes but do receive Medicare and Medicaid. They cannot vote in federal elections.

It seems the issue is within Puerto Rico itself as internal politics and parties block or promote the statehood issue. Event the poll was deceptive because some wanted an independent free state, whatever that means, so once factored in, only 45% wanted to be State, while over 50% said No.

But they have a great deal- no federal income taxes are paid when you live there and you get federal health programs. Hmm, maybe that is the real reason. What would be the benefit to them if they were the 51st state?

Good question.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      No need to get personal but there are plenty of unhappy natives in hawaii. If you are one, move, remember, your an american. try Guam?

    • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

      Stephanie Launiu 4 years ago from Hawai'i

      The medicare tax is a federal tax. They pay the same amount as citizens in, but don't get the same amount of benefit out. Federal employees there pay federal tax. Puerto Ricans also pay social security tax. You should check your facts.

      Perhaps someday when foreigners (non-Puerto Ricans) outnumber the Puerto Rican natives, they will become a state. That's what happened with Hawaii's statehood vote.

      And to say that only Native Hawaiians are unhappy with Hawaii being a state is also untrue and pretty racist.

      Sounds like somebody's unsatisfied with his lot in life in Santa Rosa, California, so he has to pick on natives living on tiny islands. Next time you decide to write about something you know nothing about, check your facts.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      There are no federal taxes in PR. US industry get tax breaks for being in PR. Hawaii could have decided not to become a state, they chose otherwise and are very happy they did. Only native hawaiians would say otherwise.

    • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

      Stephanie Launiu 4 years ago from Hawai'i

      I'm not sure what your motive was for writing this hub, but I do have to question your "facts are facts" viewpoint. Your hub isn't long enough to get all the facts out. Regarding your comment "But PR has the best of all worlds - tropics, american defense, desirable industry, no federal taxes and US medicare."

      The tropics are God's gift to PR. America has nothing to do with that.

      American defense comes along with the "American package" because being part of the U.S. puts PR at a higher risk of attack and invasion than if PR were an independent nation. For example, the Japanese would never have attacked Pearl Harbor if Hawaii hadn't been part of the U.S.

      Desirable industry - again, nothing to do with the U.S. These industries would be in PR regardless. They definitely don't get any tax breaks because PR is part of U.S. The global economy is growing with industries looking for countries like PR to start up in.

      No federal taxes - this is untrue. Puerto Ricans who earn all of their income in PR don't have to pay federal taxes. Why should they? They don't get the benefits of American citizens. Those who earn income outside of PR or who are employed by the federal government pay federal taxes. Puerto Ricans pay social security tax, import-export taxes, and medicare tax, even though they cannot qualify for SSI and their medical providers don't get the same medicare reimbursement as American docs.

      U.S. medicare - Puerto Ricans pay the medicare tax that U.S. citizens pay, so why shouldn't they get medicare? It's a system going broke anyway.

      Many of us here in Hawaii have encouraged those in PR, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Marshall Islands, etc. who are under the U.S. "protection" to NEVER agree to statehood. Learn from Hawaii and the rampant militarization and colonization of our islands. In all of the places mentioned, we are not immigrants who came to America. America came to us.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 4 years ago

      @island- the facts are facts and it can be that easy. But PR has the best of all worlds-tropics, american defense, desirable industry, no federal taxes and US medicare.

    • Doodlehead profile image

      Doodlehead 4 years ago from Northern California

      Could happen with this administration whose goal it is to "equalize" things making the US "equal" to the rest of the world. He wants to let in millions of relatives to the already illegals here and at the same time I understand he has cut the board guards by 60000. He does not want borders enforced.

      The dollar is next. Soros funds O and he wants to do what he did to the British Pound so he can short the dollar and make the biggest fortune ever made for this transaction. As for global warming the idea here is to allow "options" trades for cap and trade. This is what underlies global warming. Nothing to do with the weather, folks.

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      You should check your facts. Anyhow, your vision is too simplistic for a complex problem, which not only involves two different cultures, but relationships of power, economy and geopolitic issues. Sorry.