Puerto Rico: The state or territory?

October 16, 2017

by Joseph Kim Granada Hills Charter School10th Grade

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, congressional members from both sides of the aisle started to express interest in making Puerto Rico the 51st state of the United States of America. Currently Puerto Rico is in a dire situation, as their infrastructure has collapsed. Currently about 45% of Puertoricans do not have access to clean drinking water, and only 9% of people have electricity. These effects are estimated to last months.

Now the aid that the citizens of Puerto Rico need, it is unable to reach them; according to the U.S. state department, they claimed that all the humanitarian aid is there, but there are not enough truck drivers to drive them, or that the roads have crumbled.

It’s been more than a century since Puerto Rico officially became a U.S. territory (1898), yet it hasn’t become a state yet. Members in congress are hesitant to make puerto rico the 51st state, as by making it a state there will be many changes that will come both to the mainland and the island.

For example, currently the national debt of Puerto Rico is exceeds 70 billion dollars; by making Puerto Rico a state, the federal government will have to take the debt, and add it to the national debt.(currently the national debt of the United States of America is 20 trillion dollars).

Even if the U.S. federal government decides to take on the national debt of Puerto Rico, the majority of the debt is owned by regular Americans. Over 20% of bond mutual funds own the Puerto Rican debt, making up 11.3 billion dollars of Puerto Rico’s national debt. This is not including hedge funds.

Natives on the island also believes that by becoming a state in the United States of America, the citizens of Puerto Rico will lose their culture, and become whitewashed. As 46% percents of Puerto Ricans do not support statehood.

In conclusion, Puerto Rico currently lives under U.S. laws and are citizens of the United States of America, but there are many factors that will prevent statehood. Such as the islands national debt, and the majority of the debt is owned by the average American. Thus making millions of Americans losing money, which will have an effect on the American economy. Rather than statehood, there are other ways for Puerto Rico to solve their humanity crisis; for an example, the U.S. government can allow it to declare bankruptcy like what they did for the city of Detroit. By declaring bankruptcy it allows the Puerto Rican government to have a fresh start.

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