What has to happen now is for Congress to debate whether to act on the results of the referendum. This year, the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status stated that the U.S. would enact legislation to “honor the choice of the people of Puerto Rico,” which for now seems clearly to be statehood.
A potential source of opposition may be Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who is in favor of Puerto Rico's remaining a semi-autonomous member of the U.S. commonwealth. Earlier today, pro-statehood incumbent Luis Fortuno ceded the election for governor of Puerto Rico to Parilla.
Presently, Puerto Ricans become full U.S. citizens at birth, and Puerto Rican people living and registered in one of the 50 states can vote in Presidential and other state and federal elections. Puerto Rican residents on the island itself, however, are not eligible to vote in federal elections, though they pay federal taxes and have served in the U.S. military in every war since The Spanish-American.
Approximately 190,000 Puerto Ricans live here in Brooklyn, which is just about 7.5% of the Borough’s population. What this means for Puerto Rican Brooklynites is still unclear; for some it may be seen as a matter of pride, or as an important economic issue, and for others it may carry little weight, since the majority of the changes would effect only those living on the island. We will have to wait on Congress’ decision, but in the meantime, designers and aspiring Betsy Rosses can start scanning craigslist for freelance jobs under the ‘government’ listing for “Format layout for fifty-one stars that doesn’t look awkward”.