Pros and cons of statehood for Puerto Rico

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PROS

• Puerto Rico costs the U.S. over $22 billion a year. However, as a state it will contribute nearly $2 billion to the U.S. Treasury each year.

• Approximately 50 percent of Puerto Ricans live under the federal poverty line. Full integration to the national economy will provide job creation and income benefits.

• Puerto Ricans do not exercise sovereignty over their own affairs. While they elect a governor and have a state government like all the states, the United States Congress controls the destiny of Puerto Rico.

• This current colonial status does not allow Puerto Ricans to vote for the President of the United States or have any say in the making of the laws and statutes that apply to them.

• If it becomes a state, Puerto Rico will have an open market to trade with all nations that are in alliance with the U.S.

CONS

• Puerto Ricans are concerned they will lose their Spanish heritage and culture if they become a state. They would not be recognized as an individual nation in the Olympic Games nor have a representative in their Miss Universe Pageant, which they have won three times.

• English is mandatory in Puerto Rico’s public schools, but it is taught as a foreign language. Students rarely receive more than 50 minutes of English instruction per day. Fewer than 20 percent of Puerto Ricans can speak English fluently.

• If it becomes a state, Puerto Ricans will no longer be exempt from Federal income tax and even more people will be forced on to the public dole because of the effects of increased taxation on a struggling economy.