The US Congress will consider a draft law on the admission of the island of Puerto Rico as of the 51st USA state. The bill introduced by the Puerto Rican representative in the lower house, Jennifer González-Colón (who has only an advisory vote) and 37 members of Congress, representing the Republican (22) and Democratic (15) of the party.
González thanked legislators who supported her and said she was proud to be one of those who open the way to the decolonization of Puerto Rico.
The island, colonized by Spain 525 years ago and 120 years ago converted to the US, remains the oldest colony in the world. “There is no reason to wait any longer to put an end to the unequal rights of Americans living in Puerto Rico,” Gonzalez-Colon said.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, a co-sponsor, commended González efforts. “[The bill] continues the important conversation about the future of Puerto Rico, and I strongly support her in this endeavor. Together, we can make Puerto Rico the 51st state. Let’s make it happen,” Bishop said.
In case the bill is adopted, the House of Representatives and the Senate will have to create a special commission to deal with the problems associated with the admission of Puerto Rico into the United States. After that, Congress will have to abrogate the laws previously passed in relation to the island, and no later than January 1, 2021, Puerto Rico, along with the small islands adjacent to it, can be proclaimed the 51st US state.
Currently, the island, which came under US control after the Spanish-American War of 1898, is considered freely associated with the United States in the status of an unincorporated organized territory. In accordance with the legislation in force more than 3 million Puerto Rican residents are US citizens but do not participate in the presidential elections (only in the primaries: in 2016 on the island they won Hillary Clinton from the Democrats, and Marco Rubio, a Republican) and do not have full representation in the congress.
In 2012, 54% Puerto Ricans in a referendum opted for the statehood of the island. When choosing options for the new status, the majority voted to enter the United States as a state. Last year, more than 97% residents voted for the statehood.
In a meeting with President Donald Trump last week, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, a Democrat, urged the president to support Puerto Rican statehood, adding that the island is “open for business.”
“We want to be a state. We want equal treatment,” Rosselló said. “Using your words, sir, you want to make America great again. I think we can make it greater and expand to make Puerto Rico the 51st state.”