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Puerto Rico Takes First Step Toward Statehood – Island Votes to Become 51st State

Puerto Rican Flagbearer
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Referendums have come before the people of the island of Puerto Rico and never before had a majority of them voted to seek full statehood.  That changed on election night 2012.

Faced with the choices of statehood or continued territory status.  A majority choose the statehood path rather than the status quo. It’s the first time a majority of citizens on the Spanish-speaking island have voted to pursue statehood.

The vote was not binding and any steps down the path to make Puerto Rico the 51st state would need to be initiated in the US Congress.  Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the sole power to admit states to the union.

New York State is home to more than 1 million Puerto Ricans, a quarter of all those of Puerto Rican heritage in the US.

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