Last updated on: 3/6/2024 | Author:

Should Puerto Rico Be Granted U.S. Statehood?

Puerto Rico’s official name is the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico in Spanish, and is home to about 3.1 million people. The island is described as a “freely associated state” by its Spanish name. However, Puerto Rico is officially an unincorporated territory or commonwealth of the United States per the Puerto Rico Commonwealth Bill signed by President Truman in 1950. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth. They cannot, however, vote in U.S. presidential elections, and may only elect a resident commissioner to the U.S. House of Representatives (who may vote in committees only). For more on Puerto Rico statehood, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)


Joe Biden:

“I will work with representatives who support each of the status options in Puerto Rico in a fair and binding process so that they can determine their own status. I happen to believe that statehood would be the most effective means of ensuring that residents of Puerto Rico are treated equally, with the same representation at the federal level. But the people of Puerto Rico must decide, and the United States federal government must respect their decision and act on it.”


PR 51st, “Does Joe Biden Support Statehood for Puerto Rico?,”, Dec. 28, 2020

CON (no)

Not Clear or Not Found

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

No position as of Nov. 7, 2023.

Donald Trump:

Geraldo Rivera: “How about statehood for Puerto Rico, isn’t that the only way to really fix them?”

Donald Trump: “Nobody’s mentioned that recently to me. Nobody’s mentioned it recently. I will tell you this, with the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is, and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing… And if you have good leadership, Geraldo, that certainly could be something they talk about. But with people like that involved in Puerto Rico, I would be an absolute no.”

Editors’ Note: Trump previously stated he would allow Puerto Ricans to chose whether the island should be a state: “There are 3.7 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico. As citizens, they should be entitled to determine for themselves their political status. I am firmly committed to the process where Puerto Ricans might resolve their status according to Constitutional and Congressional protocols. I believe the people of Puerto Rico deserve a process of status self-determination that gives them a fair and unambiguous choice on this matter. As president I will do my part to insure that Congress follows the Constitution. The will of the Puerto Rican people in any status referendum should be considered as Congress follows through on any desired change in status for Puerto Rico, including statehood.”


FactBase Videos, “Interview: Geraldo Rivera Interviews Donald Trump on Geraldo in Cleveland – September 24, 2018,”, Sep. 24, 2018
Source for Editors’ Note: PR 51st, “Donald Trump Statement on Puerto Rico,”, Jan, 8, 2016