Florida is home to more than 1 million Puerto Rican residents, the second largest of any state.
Many have come to the state in search of better economic opportunities that can be provided stateside, in part because the island’s current status as a territory chases away potential investors and businesses from setting up shop.
One way to promote economic growth on the island is to address the status issue, and thankfully, voters on the island have already decided on their preferred status.
Three times since 2012, Puerto Ricans were asked at the polls about the status of the island, and each time statehood won the most support. Most recently, in 2020, Puerto Rican voters were asked a straightforward and simple question: “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the Union as a State?” And the majority–52.34 percent–said “yes.”
Statehood is the only status option that has ever gotten more than 50 percent support from voters, and since Congress has the power to decide the island’s fate, it is incumbent upon our congressional representatives to act.
U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., in particular, has an outsized role to play given his position on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, which is the congressional committee with jurisdiction. The committee chair, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., has indicated that he intends to hold a vote on Puerto Rico’s status in the fall. Hopefully, Webster will honor the votes of Puerto Ricans, and support the Puerto Rico Statehood Admissions Act. The Puerto Ricans, both on the island and in Florida, deserve this at the very least.
Dr. Miriam Ramírez served in the Senate of Puerto Rico.