On June 11th, 2017, Puerto Rico voted to become a state in our Union, instead of remaining a territory as it has been since 1898 following the Spanish-American War. Despite 97% of voters voting on statehood, only 23% of the territory’s eligible voters came to the polls on Sunday, begging the question to many as to whether or not there is in fact a mandate (or overwhelming agreement, or push) to become the 51st State. Puerto Ricans for statehood suggest that such formal admission into the Union would significantly relive financial pressures, especially after declaring bankruptcy last month, and would give them further rights, i.e., giving their citizens a vote in Presidential elections, and voting members of Congress. Critics of such a move cite that admission as a state would increase taxes and may increase financial hardships, and fear that Puerto Rican culture and identity may be compromised. Ultimately, the decision to admit is up to Congress, who will decide in committees and votes over the next several weeks.
Source and Further Reading: