Why Puerto Rico is not a US state

  • Published: 25 January 2018
  • Nearly half of Americans don’t know that Puerto Ricans are US citizens. But they are, and have been since 1917.

    Watch why Puerto Rico won't have power for months: bit.ly/2DBCPVp

    Read about Puerto Rico's latest bid for statehood: bit.ly/2DGlz4L

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    As residents of the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans have US passports, can travel freely throughout the country and can serve in the military. But that doesn’t mean the US citizens who live in Puerto Rico get the same rights and benefits as US citizens stateside.

    Watch the video above to understand how Puerto Rico became a US commonwealth, the tangled relationship that developed, and how it all affects prosperity and development on the island today.

    Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out vox.com.

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Comments • 2 938

  • Vox
    Vox   2 years back

    It's been months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Watch our video on the conditions many Puerto Ricans are still facing in the aftermath: http://bit.ly/2DBCPVp

    Read about Puerto Rico's latest bid for statehood on Vox.com: http://bit.ly/2DGlz4L

    • Ana Caona
      Ana Caona  2 months back

      @Joey Duren The US is responsible for the damage and should pay even more to rebuild Puerto Rico. How does anyone expect Puerto Rico to do this work ? There are no jobs and money in Puerto Rico.

    • Joey Duren
      Joey Duren  2 months back

      At this point it’s been years and we’re still recovering from Maria

    • Ana Caona
      Ana Caona  2 months back

      @Babyface0603 Puerto Rican residents shouldn't have to pay US Federal taxes. They don't have jobs and a lot of money, so they need the welfare from the US to help them live.

  • Brandon McGowan
    Brandon McGowan  2 days back

    They dont wanna pay taxes or they could easily be a state

    • relative pronouns and demonstrative pronouns

      Remember "no taxation without representation" wth

      • Malaysia is Pro
        Malaysia is Pro  1 weeks back

        If US dont care about Puerto Rico
        Indenpendent they

        • Mario Lorenzo
          Mario Lorenzo  2 weeks back

          no taxation without representation....remember?

          • Av63PNT0
            Av63PNT0  2 weeks back

            If we keep treating the 5 US territories like step children eventually they will want to secede which would be bad news for both the US and the 3 territories in the Pacific like Guam, American Samoa and the Mariana Islands all three of which are strategically very important. Guam for example is the wealthiest Island nation in Micronesia attracting 1.9 million tourists mostly because its a US territory, the Island largest employer is the US military bases. If they secede it would be bad news for everyone but this current quagmire needs to change.

            • luciano Linhares
              luciano Linhares  2 weeks back

              Well done leaders of the free world...

              • Inventamus
                Inventamus  2 weeks back

                Puertoricans in Puerto Rico do not file or pay individual federal IRS taxes. This is not correct.

                • Liam Walsh
                  Liam Walsh  2 weeks back

                  I don’t think Puerto Rico should become a State. I doubt it will ever happen as the US hasn’t admitted another state in over 50 years. In fact I think all territories should become independent.

                • Ming Fung
                  Ming Fung  3 weeks back

                  Republicans are against this because it breaks balance in Senate. What if we let Jefferson become an independent state from California at the same time? This will maintain the balance.

                  • israel soto alicea
                    israel soto alicea  3 weeks back

                    Which political party support young Puerto Rican veterans of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan? Which party supports start up businesses in Arroyo,PR?

                    • israel soto alicea
                      israel soto alicea  3 weeks back

                      Will Vox interview me if I become governor of Puerto in 2024 as part of the Independence party of Puerto Rico(PIP)?

                      • hero hero
                        hero hero  3 weeks back

                        Puerto Rico can be a state, while Hawaii can leave.....Hawaii doesn't belong as its monarchy was deposed at gunpoint & the territory annexed.

                        • BoD Assassin
                          BoD Assassin  2 weeks back

                          @hero hero
                          What does Hawaii being dictated by a monarch have to do with it being an American state?

                      • BoriquaAteo
                        BoriquaAteo  3 weeks back

                        As a Puerto Rican I want a monarchy for the island a king or in our case a Cacique he or she would bring prosperity to the island

                        • Spanish Mapper
                          Spanish Mapper  4 weeks back

                          Puerto Rico será Español! Viva reunificación!

                          • Scott Paxman
                            Scott Paxman  4 weeks back

                            It is a cool place.
                            Puerto Rico benefits enormously by being a US Territory. They get way more back in Federal aid (housing, food, medicaid, assistance, etc) than they pay in taxes.

                            • lance
                              lance  4 weeks back

                              didn't Puerto Rico vote not to be a state!

                              • Ltbubas
                                Ltbubas  1 months back

                                here's my take on statehood for u.s. territories. even if it doesn't get statehood, the territory deserves representation in congress and in the electoral college, so it would probably go something like this: in the congress, puerto rico gets four representatives with equal status to all others in the chamber, as well as two senators, while the other territories get one representative and two senators each. in addition, puerto rico would get 5-7 electors for presidential elections, while the other territories have a similar deal to washington d.c.- they'd be allowed as many electors as they would have if they were a state, but no more electors than the least populated state (wyoming with three electors). as for statehood, i took the population of each state the decade it was admitted, then averaged it. it came out to about 200,000 people on average, with 50,000 being on the lower side (this went for earlier states like those in the northwest territory) and 300,000 and up being on the higher side (this applies to more recent states like hawaii, which had 650,000 people on admission). if a territory should pass the 200,000 mark (or something in that range), and it's economically autonomous, then a referendum could be held for statehood.

                                • ace h
                                  ace h  1 months back

                                  1:15 are they wearing malteasers on their heads

                                  • DandyAniel
                                    DandyAniel  1 months back

                                    Make them a state, and make them pay federal taxes.

                                    • Tim Auran
                                      Tim Auran  1 months back

                                      51 states doesn't sound as good as 50. End of discussion!

                                      • Honeybunnyハニーバニー

                                        0:38 Why is Nevada have a smaller population then Puerto Rico? It has Las Vegas!

                                        • Your mom gay 696969
                                          Your mom gay 696969  2 weeks back

                                          Honeybunnyハニーバニー even with Las Vegas Nevada only has 3.034 million people less tha Puerto Rico’s 3.195 million people

                                      • Ee Seh Ong
                                        Ee Seh Ong  1 months back

                                        Democracy is not a newly created word. Some lawyers think they are more intelligent than the rest of the people in their country. We now do not need so many lawyers that is why I encounter many taxis drivers who are actually lawyers. Joshua Wong if you have no job you can be a taxicab driver too. Many other lawyer taxi drivers need to earn a living. I do not know if fairness is part of democracy.

                                        • Ray Pfister
                                          Ray Pfister  1 months back

                                          Vox makes great progressive left leaning videos full of mis-information.

                                          • japp rivera
                                            japp rivera  1 months back

                                            That's an easy one, American Congress doesn't want it, simple! Oh but they love the campaign contributions and prime real state for their donors at cheap prices.

                                            • Boby Berry
                                              Boby Berry  2 months back

                                              Puerto Rico is a bankrupt state with no economy and no natural resources (minirals, crude oil, natural gas, ex.. ex..) the county completely relies on US for just about everything, so yeh.

                                              • Killsocialmedia
                                                Killsocialmedia  2 months back

                                                I have met lots of Puerto Ricans. They are so entitled. They are worse than a typical American. Its unbearable

                                                • uhg Sakes
                                                  uhg Sakes  2 months back

                                                  @Killsocialmedia well, they are US citezens. They have a right to be in the counteu if they want to. I think the reason the "expect special treatment" is because, even if they are part of the United States, they do not recieve the same amount of benefits in Puerto Rico. So, they need some type of help to be able to get used to how life is in the United States. Maybe the reason why they are "entitled" is because they only ask for the help they are denied. Besides, isnt the United States the Land of the Free? Shouldnt we be happy more people desire to live country?

                                                • Killsocialmedia
                                                  Killsocialmedia  2 months back

                                                  @uhg Sakes when they move to the US they expect you to recognize their suffering for being a territory and because of it they expect special treatment. Its not much different than meeting someone from another country. America can only handle so many entitled people.

                                                • uhg Sakes
                                                  uhg Sakes  2 months back

                                                  In what way are Puerto Ricans entitled?

                                              • Omgunicorn Rainbow
                                                Omgunicorn Rainbow  2 months back

                                                But finally, a good video with real information about Puerto Rico. FINALLY!!!!

                                                • Omgunicorn Rainbow
                                                  Omgunicorn Rainbow  2 months back

                                                  People don’t know Puerto Rico people r US citizens?
                                                  I’m not even Puerto Rican and I know that!

                                                  • Mikko Lodeon
                                                    Mikko Lodeon  2 months back

                                                    atleast they are US Citizens

                                                    • shaneeda! zoinks
                                                      shaneeda! zoinks  2 months back

                                                      This is b.s. explanation. PR is like the guy that drives around with no insurance, gets into an accident, and expects everyone to chip in to fix his car. Nahhhhh.

                                                      • Ana Caona
                                                        Ana Caona  2 months back

                                                        Puerto Rican residents shouldn't have to pay US Federal taxes. They don't have jobs and a lot of money, so they need the welfare from the US to help them live.

                                                        • MajorBowie
                                                          MajorBowie  2 months back

                                                          Funny how the Americans are doing taxation without representation

                                                          • Babyface0603
                                                            Babyface0603  2 months back

                                                            Puerto Rican s pay federal taxes?? There has been referendums in the past, and Puerto Rico voted to be a commonwealth everytime. That's because they would to pay federal taxes if they became a state. Their governor complains of being treated "like 2nd class" citizens. Well, it's people voted against statehood.

                                                            • Fernando Gueits
                                                              Fernando Gueits  2 months back

                                                              Boríke was never a state and never will be!!
                                                              You can not get rich if it becomes a state!!

                                                              • latengocomoburro
                                                                latengocomoburro  2 months back

                                                                Everybody is talking here about "taxation without representation" but what we are forgetting is that puerto Rico does not really contribute anything. Puerto Rico is a big burden to the US since literally half of its citizens live off welfare. And lets not forget the extreme amount of corruption of its politicians.

                                                                • Emanuel Levi
                                                                  Emanuel Levi  2 months back

                                                                  Yankee go home!!
                                                                  Free Puerto Rico and Abolish Amerikkka now!!!

                                                                  • BoD Assassin
                                                                    BoD Assassin  2 weeks back

                                                                    @Emanuel Levi
                                                                    How do you abolish "amerikkka"?

                                                                • Jesi Colon Rodriguez
                                                                  Jesi Colon Rodriguez  2 months back

                                                                  I really wish they would do right by us...for once

                                                                  • Mlchael Wray
                                                                    Mlchael Wray  2 months back


                                                                    • Bianchi
                                                                      Bianchi  2 months back

                                                                      Excellent video!

                                                                      • Chris 2000
                                                                        Chris 2000  2 months back

                                                                        They should be their own country, we shouldnt have to carry their load

                                                                        • Y2kSd4
                                                                          Y2kSd4  2 months back

                                                                          They should Send MEXICANS over to rebuild the entire Island and their Lazy economy!

                                                                          • Incógnito Jack Boricua
                                                                            Incógnito Jack Boricua  2 months back

                                                                            I see puerto ricans here wanting independence from US put they dont tell you that Independence movement in PR represent only 3% so stop giving the false illusion that many people in PR want it.

                                                                            • Luis Sánchez Mora
                                                                              Luis Sánchez Mora  2 months back

                                                                              Puerto Rico était une autre province d'Espagne colonisée par les États-Unis, in raison de son businesssement à s'étendre.

                                                                              Puerto Rico was another province of Spain colonized by the United States, because of its eagerness to expand.

                                                                              • andre jones
                                                                                andre jones  2 months back

                                                                                American Citizenship Only on U.S "continental Statehood" Soil!!!!!!!!

                                                                                • BoD Assassin
                                                                                  BoD Assassin  2 weeks back

                                                                                  @andre jones
                                                                                  Puerto Rico is US soil.

                                                                              • arlene lopez
                                                                                arlene lopez  2 months back

                                                                                Because they could never "whiten" our COUNTRy we still are a Caribbean nation, with 400 years of national culture bursting up. Plus they can further plunder our economic well-being as U.S. possession... Talking about USA nasty Latin american imperialism and hegemony. Están.mancomunados con la oligarquía criolla no solo en PR... US is built by land 'takers' and grabbers' cynical and racist rich people

                                                                                • That Guy
                                                                                  That Guy  2 months back

                                                                                  Give Puerto Rico full independence.

                                                                                  • Brandon Smith
                                                                                    Brandon Smith  2 months back

                                                                                    That Guy, we should make it a state. They need the US’s financial support

                                                                                • eloquente
                                                                                  eloquente  2 months back

                                                                                  If a voter turnout was short in numbers on the mainland USA, what does that matter??? Either the people (who voted) vote one way or the other. The winner of the election has NOTHING to do with anything but the NUMBER THAT IS A WINNING NUMBER, according to that election.
                                                                                  Now, the truth of the matter is... there are too many members of Congress that are racist and will NOT vote to ALLOW Puerto Rico to become a state, REGARDLESS of what an island vote turnout may be! Puerto Rico is still doomed in this day and age because of the impasse in the US Congress. Let's not hide the facts ... They are what they are!