There have been discussions about making Puerto Rico the 51st state of the United States of America. A 2012 status referendum found that 61% supported statehood and in December 11 of that year, the legislature in Puerto Rico requested that action be taken on the results, end their current form of territorial status and start the process for admitting the country to the Union as a state.
A lot have expressed support for allowing Puerto Rico to become a US state. Opinion pieces agreeing with the move have been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Boston Herald. However, there are some who also disagree about making Puerto Rico a state. To better understand this topic, here’s a list of advantages and disadvantages of making Puerto Rico a state:
List of Advantages of Puerto Rico Becoming a State
1. Quality of life will be improved.
A lot of the citizens of Puerto Rico are living under the poverty line. When the country becomes part of the US, a lot of job opportunities would present itself for the residents. Even though the island nation is a territory of the United States, it enjoys limited benefits. Even the country’s representative in Congress is a nonvoting delegate.
2. Debt can be solved.
Puerto Rico has suffered since the financial crisis of 2008, and they have been struggling since then. The governor, Alejandro Padilla, admitted straight out that the country cannot pay in full. Ryan Cooper, in a 2015 opinion piece in The Week, wrote “By proposing a referendum on statehood and assisting with an orderly debt write-down, America can atone for its past sins and put Puerto Rico back on an upward trajectory.”
3. It rights many wrongs.
The United States went into war with Spain just to get Puerto Rico. But rather than treat it as one of its own, America mainly didn’t do much for the island nation. They imposed US laws on the country but ignored calls for independence. In 1917, Puerto Ricans became attained US citizenship so they could participate in the war.
Although Puerto Rico has experienced good times with US support, it is still unfair for a country to have US laws imposed on them but have no say in Congress.
List of Disadvantages of Puerto Rico Becoming a State
1. Loss of culture.
Puerto Rico has a very rich culture, and many fear that this might be lost should the island colony become a state of the US. For one, Spanish might be replaced with English. Plus, the country has done well in international competition and it has become a source of pride; becoming a state would mean losing all of this distinction.
2. Crime rates in the US would spike.
Data and statistics on Puerto Rico will be counted as part of the US’ if the country does become a state. It is known that the crime rates in the island nation are pretty high and them becoming the 51st state means those numbers will be counted as part of the United States.
It’s not just in crime where the rates would rise for the US. A lot of the residents of Puerto Rico are poor and the poverty rate would surely add to the already increasing amount of the United States’.