Ohio State Representative Daniel Ramos is the latest legislator to back Puerto Rico’s bid for statehood. Ramos, who was born and raised in Ohio but is of Puerto Rican descent, has introduced a House Concurrent Resolution asking the U.S. Congress to take action “that respects the will of U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico, and takes steps toward admitting the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to the Union as a state,” according to a report in HispanicOhio.com
About 94,965 Ohio residents, roughly .8% of the entire population or 26.8% of the Hispanic population, identify themselves as Puerto Rican, according to U.S. census data from 2010.
That means that most constituents of Rep. Ramos and his colleagues in the legislature are not Puerto Rican — just over one quarter of his state’s Hispanic residents and less than 1% of Ohioans overall. According to U.S. Census data from 2006 to 2010, the percentages are somewhat higher in his home county, (15,324 Puerto Ricans, or 5.1% of the entire population and 63.6% of the entire Hispanic population of Lorain County) but still by no means a majority.
States with larger Puerto Rican populations, such as New York or Florida, might have been expected to take the lead on this question.
However, Puerto Rican statehood is not an issue merely for Puerto Ricans. All Americans should be concerned about this matter, from the standpoint of democratic rights, human rights, U.S. honor and pride.
“As laid out in the Declaration of Independence,” the same article quoted Ramos as saying, “our country recognizes that government derives its power from the consent of the governed. The people of Puerto Rico voted to change that, and that should be respected.”
“Following the results of the November election I believe it is necessary that Congress take swift action and recognize the will of the United States citizens living in Puerto Rico,” Rep. Ramos elaborated. “For nearly a century, these citizens have served in the branches of our armed forces defending our freedom. Now, through their vote, they have asked for statehood, with all of the rights and responsibilities this brings. Using the guidance of our forefathers, it is the duty of Congress to respect the call of U.S. Citizens for Statehood, as they have done since the 18th Century. This resolution asks Congress to do exactly that.”