Target: U.S. Congress
Goal: Grant Puerto Rico statehood since a majority of its citizens voted in favor of it
The island of Puerto Rico is currently a U.S. territory, meaning that its people are U.S. citizens and can serve in the military, travel with U.S. passports, and use the U.S. dollar. However, they cannot vote in U.S. elections and currently do not have to pay federal taxes. According to the BBC, in a recent electorate vote, 54 percent of the island voted to change its current relationship with the U.S. and nearly two-thirds voted for that change to be full statehood. Sign this petition and help to grant Puerto Rico full statehood, making Puerto Rico the 51st state in the U.S.A.
Although this measure needs to be approved by Congress, no territory has ever before been denied admission to the States and President Obama has said he will respect the decision of Puerto Ricans if there is a majority vote in favor of statehood. Since becoming U.S. citizens in 1917, nearly a century of Puerto Ricans have served in the U.S. military without being able to vote in the presidential elections. Unemployment is at 13 percent and the island has a large debt due to the recession. Becoming a U.S. state would allow for Puerto Ricans to have representation in Congress and a voice in elections. They would have to pay federal taxes, but in doing so they would become eligible for the same social services and policies as those U.S. citizens in the other 50 states.
This is a big decision–going from a self-governing territory to becoming a state. Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959 and before that had become a territory to the U.S. in 1898–the same year that Puerto Rico came under U.S. control. But the United States has not annexed another state since 1959. Sign this petition and show your support in granting Puerto Rico statehood, as the majority voted to do in the latest Puerto Rican referendum.
Dear U.S. Congress,
In the latest Puerto Rican referendum, the majority voted to change their current relationship with the U.S. from territory to state. As U.S. citizens for nearly a century, Puerto Ricans have served in the military without being able to vote in presidential elections or having to pay federal income taxes. We are calling on you to grant Puerto Rico statehood and allow them these basic rights and responsibilities as U.S. citizens.
By granting Puerto Rico statehood, they would have a representative in Congress and a voice in the elections. They would be eligible for social services and policies that help maintain the other 50 states and would have a chance to turn around their current unemployment and debt with more financial help and leadership from Congress. Please vote to grant Puerto Rico statehood into the United States of America.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr