General Question

oratio's avatar

Puerto Rico to join the US as the 51st state?

Asked by oratio (8920points) May 28th, 2009

As I understand it Puerto Rico is a state in the US commonwealth in which the population are American citizens, pay federal taxes, has congress representatives and can join as the 51st state if they so chose.

I would be very interested to hear peoples thoughts and opinions about why or why not Puerto Rico should join the US fully.

Would it serve a purpose, or is there no reason to change the status of Puerto Rico?

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25 Answers

Grisaille's avatar

As someone that is Puerto Rican, was born there and has visited a few times, I think it’s a culture thing.

We’re so goddamned arrogant; we’re proud of our traditions. We have a ridiculous sense of entitlement. I have no idea why.

As for real reasons why PR doesn’t want to join the union…

I can’t think of any.

It’s silly. PR is stuck in limbo between knowing that becoming a separate country is economic suicide and (somehow) assuming becoming the 51st state would somehow ruin their culture. Gah.

Leave them be, I say. It’s their choice. :P

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

I wouldn’t mind having a new state… in fact it’d be kinda cool. But it’s totally up to the residents of the island.

They meet all the qualifications, but everytime it’s made it onto a ballot on the island it’s failed to pass. Maybe if they try again sometime soon.

They better hurry or they won’t beat Mexico, Canada, and Iraq into the Union :P…. (kidding).

Judi's avatar

Maybe there’s just not enough room in the senate for 2 more desks.

cookieman's avatar

I think @Grisaille nailed it: Pride.

Couple old friend of mine were from PR, and that is their take on it also.

as an aside; Years ago, I was the best man in a wedding in PR – in August. Holy twinkies was it hot.

Grisaille's avatar

It’s also quite beautiful. Great change from the concrete jungle I’m used to.

And yes, it’s flippin’ sweltering all the time.

Omar12's avatar

@Grisaille , you are right. It’s funny to see the politicians and people that support the union with the United States, celebrating and cheering the Puerto Rico sports teams, their Beauty Pageants contestants winning, some of the few things that Puerto Rico will lose if they join as a State.

But as mentioned, is all a culture pride, all Puertoricans enjoy the US government aids.

wundayatta's avatar

I wonder if the push to have English named as the United States’ language has anything to do with their reluctance to join as a state.

Grisaille's avatar

@daloon Naaaaah.

A large amount of Puerto Ricans speak great English, particularly in the cities. In fact, a bunch of Puerto Ricans that can’t speak English are quite jealous of English speakers, I find (speaking English means you can get a good job down there or in the mainland).

It isn’t a dislike of American ideals and customs, it’s the overwhelming pride of their own, as I said – but I believe language is a very small factor, if any.

In my eyes, of course. I’m not trying to speak for the entire island haha

Poser's avatar

I think it all has to do with the flag. Where would we put that 51st star?

I guess Texas might volunteer theirs.

Darwin's avatar

I think it is all of the above, except the desk thing. I have had friends on both sides of the issue.

Generally, those pushing for statehood assume that nothing will change except they will get to have senators and congressmen in Washington. Some of those opposed like the status quo, which is to get money, protection and goods from the US, free access to the US, and still be able to be wholly Puerto Rican. Others they realize that statehood would bring changes they wouldn’t want, possibly including English-only and having someone not in Puerto Rico be able to tell Puerto Rico what to do and how to do it. Still others feel becoming a state would somehow negate individuality and destroy what makes Puerto Rico unique. A few also realize that Puerto Rico probably couldn’t sustain itself as an independent country.

And then there is the whole thing of there being more Puerto Ricans outside of Puerto Rico than still living on the island. It is nice to be able to go freely back and forth.

redstripe11's avatar

My understanding is that corporations that incorporate there are exempt from federal income taxes, so that is part of the reason why not. It would make sense for Puerto Rico to join the union. Good luck trying to find a way to symetrically align 51 stars on the flag, though, as the only numbers 51 is divisible by are 3 and 17.

cwilbur's avatar

Every several years there’s a big push for Puerto Rico to become a state, and the vote hasn’t succeeded yet. There are a lot of reasons for and against, and the Wikipedia article on Puerto Rico contains pointers to several of them; in the end, though, the majority of the voters of Puerto Rico don’t want it to be a state.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@redstripe11 – Easy peasy! American Samoa, the Marshall Islands and Guam come in as states no. 52, 53 and 54!

Darwin's avatar

Hey! Don’t forget the US Virgin Islands!

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

Don’t forget France… they’re panzies, we could get them to join up just by asking them to step outside…. :D

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Darwin – Oooh, I did forget them, ever so sorry! See, I should be deported to someplace… like the UK ;)

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

what incentive is there? They get all the benefits and none of the drawbacks of statehood now.

Darwin's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic They don’t get to vote in Washington, though.

reijinni's avatar

It might the flag a little crazy, but it will even out the number of senate seats so that no state would have to run both of their senators in the same election cycle.

cyn's avatar

and then
Mexico would be the 52nd state….

Darwin's avatar

@cyndihugs – Not hardly – Mexico has been an independent country since the Mexican war of independence began in 1810. It was entirely separate from Spain by the time of the Spanish-American War (1898) so it was never “spoils of war” as were Spain’s remaining overseas territories including the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Why in heaven’s name would Mexico want to be a part of the US?

cyn's avatar

i was just being sarcastic

Darwin's avatar

@cyndihugs – Sorry – missed that entirely. I am too used to idiots people claiming that Mexico is taking over California and Texas.

See? I do get passionate at times.

cyn's avatar

i get the passionate part

JMLS's avatar

The truth is that the United States (US) government violates the human rights of Puerto Ricans. Puerto Rico, under international law, is a United States colony. Having colonies is a crime against humanity since 1960. The US government has thus far ignored 33 United Nations resolutions asking for the immediate decolonization of Puerto Rico. That means that the US should allow Puerto Rico to govern herself without US interference. Even if 100% of Puerto Ricans want to remain a colony, that would not be possible.

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