Puerto Rico statehood -- how would it work?

There’s a referendum in PR regarding statehood in June. Assuming a majority votes for statehood, how exactly would PR become a state? It’s my understanding that Congress can do this with a simple majority vote, but that’s the extent of my understanding. Would this be like any other bill, that then goes to the Senate and has to be signed by the President? Or is the House the only actor in this? If so, how quickly could it happen?

I’m just asking about the process, not whether or not it’s advisable for PR or the US.

That’s what happened when Hawaii became a state though in reverse order. Both houses of Congress passed a bill which was signed by Eisenhower, in March as I recall. Then Hawaii held a vote to accept statehood sometime in the summer. It happened shortly after Alaska did, but Alaska was official before July 4th and Hawaii after July 4th. So Alaska got its star on the flag a whole year before Hawaii.

But no matter what the vote, in reality it’s very unlikely that this Republican-controlled Congress & President would ever pass such a bill – because Puerto Rico would be a strongly Democratic-voting state.

We just need a lobbyist from a flag company to make his rounds at Capitol Hill to have Puerto Rico become a state.
If we get a 51st state, everyone will need to buy a new flag! Republicans might not like Puerto Rico, but they do like supporting big businesses.

Yes. New states are “admitted by the Congress into this Union.” Congress is both houses, and the Constitution also says that any vote (except for an adjournment) requiring the approval of both houses “shall be presented to the President of the United States…according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill”, so the president is required to be in the loop.

So, if Puerto Rico votes for independence? What will Trump do?

The Republican Party platforms of 2008, 2012 and 2016 (at least) stated:

We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state after they freely so determine.

Saint Ronald Regan supported statehood. So did Bush the Elder and Ford while President. I’m not sure about Bush the younger. I think the Republicans would be hard pressed not to grant it. But I’d not be at all surprised if some of them tried.

So how quickly could it happen after the referendum? If a favorable Congress gains control, could they do it in one session?

Opposing the entrance of a state for political reasons hasn’t been done since pre-Civil War. Although Republicans could raise the legitimate issue that Puerto Rico would be our first non-English speaking state. Would that mean bilinguilism would have to become our policy, like it is in Canada? There’s also the small matter of their finances being utterly screwed.

The fact is that making PR a state locks it into the USA more securely. And may reduce the level of problems , such as lack of investment. investment is hindered by apparent risk… eg that they might have a revolution and look to spain or portugal for support ?

Not quite sure about this, but I would expect Louisiana was mostly French-speaking at the time of statehood. Less than ten years after purchase from France.

There are 37 million people living in the USA who speak Spanish at home. 3.4 million more isn’t all that much.

Oh no, there was oppositions to states for politics long after the USCW. Part of the reason here are two Dakotas is the Democrats and Republicans were trying to balance out the Senate. Same with Oklahoma being one and not two states and Alaska and Hawaii were admitted because it was expected Alaska to vote Democrat and Hawaii vote Republican, so it balanced out.

And as seen with AL and HI, the prediction of voting was off.

It’s hard to say what party Puerto Rico would mostly be, since the big overriding issue in Puerto Rican politics is… whether to become a state, go for independence, or keep the status quo. Once that’s resolved, well, on the one hand, you’ve got the Republican party’s issues with Hispanics in general, and on the other, you’ve got a lot of religious conservatives in PR. Apparently the Republicans have decided that the latter is likely to outweigh the former, but it’s not a certainty.

All that said, on all of the previous referenda, the status quo has won very handily, so it’s probably not going to happen.

New Mexico is officially bilingual now, and there’s no reason a language policy has to be nationalized.

Yes, it doesn’t have to be national. Canada’s three northern territories give official language status to various aboriginal languages, but they don’t have that status at the federal level or in any of the provinces. Recognition of languages can be a local thing, just like other issues in a federation.

Hawaii might have been too, but it was understood that those states would become English like the rest of America. I’m not sure we could make that assumption about Puerto Rico, and I’m not sure Puerto Rico would accept conversion into a primarily English-speaking state.

The other issue is, what if Puerto Rico becoming a state encourages a lot of Anglo migration and makes Puerto Rico unrecognizable? That’s tended to happen to states, and Puerto Rico is actually closer to the US mainland than a couple of states whose essential character was changed a great deal by migration.

Not really true. In the last vote
46% voted in favor of the status quo
of those who voted ‘no’
61% voted for statehood
33% voted for free association
5% voted for independence

half a million ballots that voted no left this selection blank causing lots of confusion

This year’s vote is
independence/free association

if the latter wins there will be a second referendum between those two. Now “free association” is sort of the status quo, but not exactly as per the previous vote. I wouldn’t be at all surprised for statehood to win the upcoming referendum

From Puerto Rico’s viewpoint that might well help with finances which are in bad shape.