Pennsylvania Democrats recently passed a resolution supporting statehood for Puerto Rico. They were not the first State Democratic organization to do so. Florida’s Democratic Party passed their own resolution including Puerto Rico statehood last October.
The resolution, titled “Supporting the Admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the United States,” begins with a statement of the perceived problem:
“3.2 million U.S. citizens live in the territory of Puerto Rico, who are denied equal rights simply because, under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the absolute power to make rules and regulations for the U.S. territories. U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico do not have full representation since they cannot vote for the U.S. President, nor do they have elected representation in the U.S. Congress, except for a non-voting delegate called Resident Commissioner.”
The resolution also points out that the 2016 Democratic Platform supports self-determination and voting rights for Puerto Rico, and that the Democratic National Committee advocated statehood for Puerto Rico at their 2017 meeting.
“[T]he 2016 Democratic Party Platform declared that “Democrats believe that the people of Puerto Rico should determine their ultimate political status from permanent options that do not conflict with the Constitution, laws and policies of the United States” and that “Puerto Ricans should be able to vote for the people who make their laws, just as they should be treated equally…” The Democratic National Committee unanimously approved a resolution endorsing statehood for Puerto Rico during its October 2017 meeting in Las Vegas. DNC Chairman Tom Perez also expressed his personal view in favor of the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the Union.”
The resolution concludes,
“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Democratic Party of Florida supports the self-determination expressed by our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico in their quest to acquire equal rights by becoming a state of the United States.
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, t hat the Democratic Party of Florida hereby calls upon our duly elected members of the U.S. Congress, to support the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the United States.”
Where does Florida come in?
The resolution includes a statement about Florida’s connection with Puerto Rico.
“250,000 Puerto Ricans have moved to Florida, in particular Central Florida, between 2010-2018 mostly due to lack of opportunities, unequal treatment, and the devastation suffered with the passing of Hurricane Maria. A poll made by ALG Research on March 2019 among Puerto Rican registered voters in Florida revealed their vast support for Puerto Rico statehood. More than three-fourths of respondents support Puerto Rican statehood (77% yes / 15% no / 9% don’t know). Statehood also has broad, bipartisan support: 73% of Democrats, 84% of Republicans, and 78% of voters registered as No Party Affiliation.”
More than one million Puerto Ricans live in Florida. Florida now has the largest Puerto Rican population in the States, bypassing New York a few years ago. It is natural that Florida’s leaders feel responsibility for Puerto Rico.
As a territory, Puerto Rico has little representation in America’s democratic process. The decision on whether to admit Puerto Rico as a State is in the hands of Congress, and therefore in the hands of the legislators representing the States.