Puerto Rico's new representative to the U.S. Congress have filed a bill to make the island the 51st state by 2025.
"We are treated as second-class American citizens," Republican Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez, who once served as speaker of the island's House of Representatives, told The Associated Press.
Gonzalez filed the bill less than a day after being sworn in as Puerto Rico's first female congressional representative. The bill comes shortly after Ricardo Rossello, Puerto Rico's newly-elected governor, lambasted the U.S. government for not giving Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, a vote in Congress.
"The United States cannot pretend to be a model of democracy for the world while it discriminates against 3.5 million of its citizens in Puerto Rico, depriving them of their right to political, social and economic equality under the U.S. flag," Rossello said in his inaugural speech, reported Fox News. "There is no way to overcome Puerto Rico's crisis given its colonial condition."
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Gonzalez told the Associated Press that the lack of statehood has contributed to Puerto Rico's struggling economy.
"The territorial status has contributed to the economic crisis," she said. "We don't get assigned the same resources."
Gonzalez said that statehood would automatically require the federal government to give the island $10 billion per year.
The island is currently struggling under $70 billion in debts, according to the Associated Press.
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In 2012, 61 percent of Puerto Ricans voted for statehood as a better alternative to its current status as a commonwealth territory.