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Careful analysis serious discussion and maybe even a national consensus should precede a decision as momentous as the admission of a new state into the Union Although Puerto Rico has been a commonwealth of the United States since the Spanish -American War they only recently became United States citizens after a law passed in 1917 They will soon have the opportunity to vote on whether or not they will become the fifty-first state of the Union There is currently a bill HR 859 passed to the Senate that calls for a true referendum which for the first time in history would allow Puerto Ricans to choose their own destiny Puerto Rico is a small island 90 miles long and 30 miles wide It is located approximately 1000 miles southeast of Miami between the US Virgin Islands and Hispaniola Its capital city of San Juan and the surrounding urban area is one of the most densely populated areas in the world In the past 33 years there have been three votes to determine the status of Puerto Rico In 1967 1981 and 1993 the citizens of the island voted whether Puerto Rico should remain a commonwealth become a state or become an independent country None of these votes were binding but were used for opinion purposes only All three times Puerto Ricans voted to remain as they are a commonwealth of the United States Why then is the Congress of the United States pursuing a new bill to change Puerto Ricos status from a commonwealth to a state Glynn Cudrow co-author of Proposition 209 and Professor of Anthropology at CalState Hayward writes that there is a mistaken belief that support for Puerto Rican statehood will translate into mainland Latino support for Republicans Many Senators and Representatives in Congress are jumping too quickly into a situation that they are not well enough informed about There are many negatives of Puerto Rico becoming
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