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Should Puerto Rico become a US state or independent? Show more Show less
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Puerto Rico, one of five American territories, has limited power and rights under its territory categorization. Some mainland Americans argue Puerto Rico should become the 51st U.S. state. Activists in Puerto Rico go one step further—full independence.

Puerto Rico should become a US state Show more Show less

Puerto Rico has been a US territory for over 100 years. No US territory that has fit all statehood requirements and voted for a referendum has waited that long for statehood. It's time to abide by the wishes of the Puerto Rican people and give them statehood, which comes with increased federal benefits and the ability to vote.
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Puerto Ricans are US citizens

Puerto Ricans have been US citizens for over 100 years, but haven’t been granted the full benefits that come with citizenship. Completing the statehood process would grant those benefits and silence constitutional detractors.

The Argument

Puerto Ricans have been US citizens since the 1917 Jones-Shafroth Act, which gave most Puerto Ricans citizenship.[1] With US citizenship came the Selective Service Act, which led to the enlistment of nearly 200,000 Puerto Ricans in World War I.[2] Puerto Ricans can serve in the US military, yet don't have many rights afforded to formal US states. Puerto Ricans, as American citizens, are subject to federal taxes for Social Security and Medicaid but don't pay federal income tax.[3] On a pure fairness level, it is unfair to have a majority of US citizens pay federal income tax, yet Puerto Ricans remain exempt. On the flip side of that, while Puerto Ricans are classified as US citizens, they are often awarded far fewer rights than people who reside in US states.[4] America is built on systems that try to maintain equality for all of its citizens, and it's time to extend that equality to Puerto Ricans as well. Puerto Ricans, as US citizens, deserve to have their state. They deserve to have their own governance and representation because of their citizenship.

Counter arguments

Awarding Puerto Rico statehood could create a slippery slope for the US. The US has four other inhabited territories other than Puerto Rico: Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands.[5] Awarding Puerto Rico statehood could set off a chain reaction and start movements in those territories, creating a surge of pleas for statehood that Congress is not prepared to deal with.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://enciclopediapr.org/en/encyclopedia/the-jones-act-passed-in-1917/
  2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/reference/united-states-history/puerto-rico-debated-statehood-since-colonization/
  3. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/11/15782544/puerto-rico-pushes-for-statehood-explained
  4. https://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2018-06-08/puerto-ricans-are-americans-but-they-dont-get-all-the-benefits
  5. https://www.interexchange.org/american-culture/us-territories/
This page was last edited on Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 18:05 UTC

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