Conservative Leaders Call for Puerto Rico Statehood

A coalition of conservative leaders will call on fellow conservatives to support letting Puerto Rico decide whether it will become the 51st state.

The announcement will come at a Tuesday morning press conference with Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles; Luis Fortuno, former Republican Governor of Puerto Rico; Niger Innis, national outreach director for; Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and executive editor of The Christian Post; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; and Dr. Hernan Padilla, former mayor of San Juan and the first Hispanic chair of U.S. Conference of Mayors.

In a Monday interview with The Christian Post, Aguilar said they will make an argument for why conservatives should support statehood. The United States was founded because England did not recognize the natural rights of citizens in its American colonies, Aguilar explained, and "ironically, that is what the federal government is now doing to Puerto Rico."

Puerto Ricans are citizens, but they do not have the full rights of citizenship. Puerto Ricans have served in the U.S. military, yet they cannot vote for the president and they do not have full representation in Congress. (Puerto Rico has one non-voting delegate.)

"Not only is it not democratic, it goes against the very soul and ideas of the Founding," Aguilar added. "We were created as a republic, not an empire."

Some Republicans may be concerned that, if given statehood, Puerto Rico would vote Democratic for president and their U.S. senators. Aguilar said these concerns are unfounded. Before this month, Puerto Rico had a Republican governor, Republican House, Republican Senate and a majority of the municipalities were held by Republicans. Additionally, over 70 percent of Puerto Ricans oppose same-sex marriage and oppose abortion, Aguilar added.

Aguilar believes that Puerto Rico would likely be a swing state, if given statehood, but "if Republicans champion statehood," it might even become a reliably Republican state.

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