Puerto Rico has been a part of the United States for over 100 years, yet Puerto Ricans still do not get the same privileges as U.S citizens and still seem to fall into a class lower than them.
Americans have many rights and privileges that many seem to take for granted. For example, presidential election. Puerto Ricans are excluded from U.S voting and congressional representation but were drafted to fight in every conflict involving the United States, from World War 1 to the Vietnam War. Even when the military became all-volunteer, they still continued to serve. According to Pentagon figures, more than 12,000 island Puerto Ricans have been deployed in Iraq and also Afghanistan.
Juan Perez, raised in Manati, Puerto Rico is a U.S soldier who proudly fought in the war says “he hopes to see his voting rights expanded because if you have to follow the orders of your government, then you should be able to vote for them.”
Congressman Jerry Weller, who also supports statehood for Puerto Rico also said, “I believe that if you are eligible to join the United States military and defend our constitution and defend our freedoms, then you should have the right to vote for president.”
With that being said, a way that congress can solve this problem without making Puerto Rico its own independent state is outlining territories like the United States and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as being able to hold electoral votes just like the District Of Columbia.
Puerto Ricans themselves have voted against both statehood and independence time and time again in favor of their commonwealth status, which among other benefits, exempts them from paying federal income taxes.
However, there is still a little hope for statehood, don't just give up yet. Pro-statehood governor, Luis Fortuño, was inaugurated in January, and a recent poll reported that 57 percent of islanders now favor statehood.
There’s no doubt Puerto Rican statehood would support the Democratic Party, which may explain the White House' interest in the topic of Puerto Rico's statehood. Democrats would benefit in the current situation because two more Senate seats would be huge for the Democrats, so by reading that, you see why Republicans have little reason to approve the Puerto Rican statehood bill.
“If Puerto Rico became a state, it would gain seats in the House that could be offset by expanding the size of the House so Republican states got more members," Hudak says. But there's no solution to the two Democratic Senators they'd send, and there's no Congressional remedy to offset that, that, and they'd get additional electoral college votes which basically are the dealbreakers.
Also, for the Olympics and the Miss Universe pageant, Puerto Rico is currently allowed to compete separately, although many Olympic athletes choose to participate through U.S. teams. In spite of all of that, the entities that govern these contests could theoretically choose to accommodate Puerto Rico separately, but they would likely not do so.
Saying that they will be unable to participate in these events as their very own state will cause much havoc for the people, family, and friends that participate in those activities. So not all positive things can come out of Puerto Rico and its statehood, that just being one conflict.
Not to mention it could also jeopardize the island's language and culture, especially if the government requires it to adopt English as their primary language. Right now, it's both English and Spanish. It would be a pretty crazy thing if that happened because the majority of the island does not speak English and the percent that does has trouble pronouncing certain words in English.
The Puerto Rico citizens must know what they are getting themselves into if they choose statehood. The authority of Congress that admit states allows it to set conditions that must be met before they actually are able to get their statehood granted, and also to require adherence to certain conditions after statehood.
It is only fair to the people of Puerto Rico that Congress make clear ahead of time the conditions under which the island could be admitted to the Union.