Puerto Rico News: Will The Island Become The 51 State?

Puerto Rico
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but are not allowed to vote and their representative in Congress has very limited rights. Creative Commons

Puerto Rico's New Progressive Party voted unanimously to submit legislation to the U.S. Congress to make the island the 51st state, local newspaper El Nuevo Día reports.

The party's resolution puts Puerto Rican Resident Comissioner Pedro Pierluisi and ex-Governor Carlos Romero Barceló in charge of outlining a legislation strategy, but the report failed to clarify if another plesbicite would be required.

Pierluisi stated that the bill would establish a process to achieve the admission of the island as a new state in America. He also said that a big part of the party thinks no more plebiscites are needed, but that it is time for the U.S. Congress should vote on the statehood of the island. Since 1967 there have been four referendums on the status of the island, none of them conducive to a change.

The last plebiscite was held on Nov. 6, in which 54 percent said they wanted to stop being a territory and 61 percent agreed with statehood against becoming an independent state. Nevertheless, as Governor Alejandro García Padilla asked to recount the blank ballots, the pro-statehood votes were reduced to 45 percent. These results failed to impress the Obama administration.

For now, the White House wants to conduct another plebiscite, as shown by a budget that marks $2.5 million for it.

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