JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— Puerto Rico is urging lawmakers on Capitol Hill to grant the Spanish-speaking island statehood into the United States. The US Commonwealth held a state-wide referendum, voting in favor of being the 51st state of America.
However, many are questioning the validity of the non-binding referendum held Sunday. Although 97 percent voted in favor of joining the US, only a quarter of Puerto Ricans voted. The low turnout is reportedly from opposing political parties who boycotted the vote.
Puerto Rico’s economy has been struggling with footing it’s $120 billion debt and is currently in a bankruptcy-type proceeding. Few have stated on the record if Puerto Rico would be good for the US, including Puerto Rican US Representative Luis Gutierrez, who told the Associated Press, “Congress won’t do anything”.
With the referendum being led by the Spanish-speaking island’s republican-led governor with democratic and independence parties opposing, Puerto may be deemed a threat to the GOP-led congress in Washington for two main reasons: heavy democratic influence and amount of debt the government would have to spend to relief what could be the newest state.
Puerto Rico voted in 2012 to become a part of the United States, however the turnout was not high enough to reflect the population.