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Puerto Rico Must Become a State: The Island Needs It to Survive

Climate Change is the most pressing disaster humanity has ever faced, and it’s all our fault. Anthropologic Climate Change is a rapid increase of global temperature as a result of humans. It will result in sea levels rising, severe droughts, flooding, and the increase in the severity of storms.

The last time a severe hurricane hit Puerto Rico, the island territory received little to no help in terms of renovating their infrastructure. Now that another hurricane, one that is not particularly powerful, has hit Puerto Rico, they are again without power and facing massive amounts of flooding. President Biden promised not to leave Puerto Rico behind after the storm. But Puerto Rico is left behind again and again, not just with storms, but with opportunities to better the island territory.

As a territory, Puerto Rico doesn’t have any representation in Congress, which means that many issues, not just damage from severe storms, are overlooked. Congress has given an oversight board authority to make financial and policy decisions over Puerto Rico, granting them power of authority over locally elected government. The officials on the oversight board were unelected, and are often un-accountable for their actions.

If it became a state, Puerto Rico would get access to the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), which is a food stamp program made specifically for victims of natural disasters. This would include disasters such as hurricanes, which are getting worse and more frequent. Puerto Rico would also be protected under the 10th Amendment, which grants States of the Union all power not delegated to the federal government, meaning that power, meaningful power, would be given to Puerto Rico and its citizens. Becoming a state would give the island several more benefits not mentioned here.

If Puerto Rico is not made a state, the island and its people will continue to suffer, and will eventually become uninhabitable. When that happens, people will need to travel to the mainland, which would be a bureaucratic nightmare for the IRS. People traveling from any US territory to the mainland must go through a process of proving that they are from a US territory, and a process of changing their tax forms as necessary.

We cannot let the people of Puerto Rico drown in the Caribbean. These people are Americans, and we should treat them as such. The United States Congress must make Puerto Rico a state in order for the island to survive climate change, and to prevent a bureaucratic disaster of mass relocation to the mainland. Puerto Ricans must be represented in Congress in order to make laws that help the island prepare for a tumultuous future.

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3 responses to “Puerto Rico Must Become a State: The Island Needs It to Survive”

  1. Certainly a topical subject for your editorial. But is this about climate change or Puerto Rico? (I know, I know, it’s about both. But…) I see one focus in the first graph and a different one in the second.

    Make sure you have specifics. Name it as Hurricane Maria.

    LMM did a song at the time:

    Lots of attention at the time. But has anything changed?

    Why would people coming from PR be a nightmare for the IRS? Is that the agency you mean?

    What needs to happen to have PR become a state? What is the central argument against it?

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  2. This is a really good and important topic to be discussed. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know anything about this in Puerto Rico until I read your article. But I totally agree that they need to make it a state in order to help when disasters occur. Because like you said, by doing that and making them a state, there are so many benefits.

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  3. The first live musical I mixed in New York was a theatre for young audiences showing of “Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans” which focuses on a young girl from Puerto Rico named Cenicienta (Cinderella in Spanish). The actress who played Cenicienta was really cool to work with. She grew up for the early part of her life in Puerto Rico, and moved to the mainland before going to high school.

    At a talk back for the show, she talked about how the island’s people were split about whether they should become a state or not but that the statehood movement has grown in recent years. In their 2020 referendum, a majority of voters wanted Puerto Rico to become a state. I wonder if that kind of support is waning in the wake of failures to support them through hurricane relief efforts and other existential threats.

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