Young Republicans Support Statehood for Puerto Rico

The Young Republican National Federation passed a resolution supporting statehood for Puerto Rico at the organization’s Spring 2017 meeting in Boston last weekend.

The resolution began by acknowledging that the national Republican Party platform includes language that “support[s] the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state.” The YRNF quoted the relevant section of the platform in full:

We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state. We further recognize the historic significance of the 2012 local referendum in which a 54 percent majority voted to end Puerto Rico’s current status as a U.S. territory, and 61 percent chose statehood over options for sovereign nationhood. We support the federally sponsored political status referendum authorized and funded by an Act of Congress in 2014 to ascertain the aspirations of the people of Puerto Rico. Once the 2012 local vote for statehood is ratified, Congress should approve an enabling act with terms for Puerto Rico’s future admission as the 51st state of the Union

YRNF’s resolution went on to point out that Puerto Ricans have fought alongside soldiers from the States in every American conflict, that Republican presidents have supported self-determination for Puerto Rico, and that the YRNF has endorsed statehood for Puerto Rico in the past. Concluding that a century is too long for the territory of Puerto Rico to wait for statehood, the resolution reaffirmed the organization’s support for statehood for Puerto Rico.

The resolution concluded:

BE IT RESOLVED the Young Republican National Federation, believing 100 years is long enough for Puerto Ricans to be American citizens without having statehood, reaffirms our stance for Puerto Rican statehood and stands with President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the members of the RNC in support of Puerto Rico statehood.”

¨The Republican Party is the party of inclusion, of family values, of individual liberty and rights. Republicans care deeply about the Hispanic community in the United States, and the YRNF’s support for Puerto Rican statehood is proof of this,¨ said Luis Rivera-Marín, Puerto Rico’s Lt. Governor and Secretary of State.

Josué Rivera, Puerto Rico Young Republican National Committeeman said, ¨I am grateful to my Young Republican colleagues from across the nation for supporting Puerto Rican statehood. This is a step in the right direction for Puerto Rico and the United States.¨

El Nuevo Dia quoted Rep. Josué Rivera as saying that the idea that Republicans oppose statehood is clearly false.  Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, Jenniffer Gonzalez, is a Republican.

In a statement, the YRNF noted that the organization “looks forward to working with our Party, our elected Republicans, and all of those who support Puerto Rico statehood so that together we can ensure Puerto Rico is admitted as the 51st state of the United States of America.”

Republican support for statehood for Puerto Rico is nothing new. The 1944 GOP platform put it this way:

Statehood is a logical aspiration of the people of Puerto Rico who were made citizens of the United States by Congress in 1917; legislation affecting Puerto Rico, in so far as feasible, should be in harmony with the realization of that aspiration.   

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