Swap Texas for Puerto Rico? Campaigners React to Viral Secession Idea

As Republicans in Texas push for a referendum on possible secession from the United States, social media users suggested an idea, swap Texas for Puerto Rico.

Although the U.S. Constitution makes no provision for secession, the Texas GOP included the measure in a proposed party platform that delegates at its state convention voted on last week.

It asks the Texas Legislature to pass a bill in its next session allowing a 2023 referendum for "the people of Texas to determine whether or not the state of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation."

Experts have told Newsweek that the likelihood of Texas breaking away from the U.S. is highly unlikely.

Still, some on social media welcomed the idea of Texas seceding and suggested it could provide an opportunity for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. to gain statehood.

"Let Texas go and let's bring in Puerto Rico and DC," one Twitter user wrote, garnering more than 17,000 likes.

But one organization lobbying for Puerto Rico to become a state argued that Puerto Rican statehood should not be based on the decisions of any other state.

"Congress should offer the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico admission as a state based on the fact that the majority of island voters have repeatedly chosen statehood at the ballot box, not on the possibility that people in any other state might be considering secession which as far as I'm aware is not allowed under the U.S. Constitution," George Laws Garcia, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council, told Newsweek.

"We have no illusions about the prospect of Texas actually seceding from the Union and then Puerto Rico replacing them as a state, but we do have genuine hope that Congress will finally respond to the voters in Puerto Rico who are demanding full democracy, equality and voting rights through statehood."

A man rides his bicycle
Some social media users have suggested swapping Puerto Rico for Texas on the heels of the Texas GOP's push for referendum on Texas seceding from the U.S. Pictured, a man rides his bicycle in front of a wall covered with campaign posters promoting Puerto Rico's statehood in San Juan, on June 9, 2017. Ricardo Arduengo/AFP

Puerto Rico has held several referendums on statehood, most recently in November 2020 when 52.5 percent of voters said the island should become the 51st U.S. state.

But those votes are not binding because only Congress can change the island's political status.

Last month, a group of U.S. lawmakers unveiled a draft bill that proposed holding a binding plebiscite in November 2023 to allow Puerto Ricans to decide their future.

The Puerto Rico Status Act, a consensus reached between the sponsors of competing bills, offers three options for Puerto Rico: become a state, become fully independent or be independent in free association, maintaining some links with the U.S.