by Cassy Fiano | June 8, 2017 11:46 am
In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. And it seemed that the United States might be, finally, complete — no new additions were made since then. But that may all change, with a vote to be held on Sunday that could make Puerto Rico the 51st state in the union.
Puerto Ricans have been fighting for a long time to make the territory an official state and Sunday, they will go to the polls to vote on the issue of statehood. The territory is facing serious financial problems, which makes statehood more appealing. Officially joining the union could alleviate some of the financial pressures that Puerto Rico is currently facing.
In the past, however, statehood referendums have failed each time they’ve been voted upon. But supporters are now arguing that Puerto Rico’s status as a territory, and not a state, has been hampering the economy. Still, in 2012, the vote failed by an overwhelming margin.
What would happen if the vote passes and Puerto Rico does become a state, though?
It would be a big win for Democrats, as the territory leans heavily liberal. Home to 3.5 million people, it would likely mean two more Democrats in the Senate and five more Democrats in the House. Yet Puerto Rican statehood is heavily championed by the Republican party. In the official 2016 party platform, the party wrote, “We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state. Once the … local vote for statehood is ratified, Congress should approve an enabling act with terms for Puerto Rico’s future admission as the 51st state of the Union.”
Likewise, Donald Trump has said that he supports Puerto Rico joining the union. “The will of the Puerto Rican people in any status referendum should be considered as Congress follows through on any desired change in status for Puerto Rico, including statehood,” he said during the presidential election last year.
Do you think Puerto Rico should become the 51st state?
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