Last year, this perspective was supported by most of the inhabitants of the island.
Congressional Democrats began to lay the groundwork for Puerto Rico’s statehood by introducing a bill describing how the Caribbean island would be admitted to the United States.
Lawmakers recalled that in November, most Puerto Ricans supported the conversion of the territory into an American state. The bill, introduced by Senator Martin Heinrick and Rep. Darren Soto, will be a congressional response to Puerto Rican residents and offer an official route to state status, they said.
It provides for a vote by the residents of the territory on the issue of transition to state status and the election of senators and members of the House of Representatives from Puerto Rico.
The bill was supported by Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi and Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon representing the territory in the House of Representatives.
Its supporters argue that the federal government does not treat Puerto Rican citizens the same way it treats other Americans, and this can be remedied through state status.
Soto said that the bill has about 50 co-initiators.
At a press conference, he highlighted the difficulties facing the island, including the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. According to the congressman, its residents deserve the same representation as all Americans.
“They finally decided that they had enough, that their territorial status and second-class citizenship did not work, and that it was time for a change,” Soto told reporters.
However, Puerto Rico’s transformation into a US state is far from guaranteed. In the Senate, approval of this initiative will require 60 votes, and Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell said that such a decision would lead to the election of two more Democratic senators.