Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s new congressional representative has filed a bill that would turn the island into the 51st U.S. state by 2025.

Jenniffer Gonzalez said Wednesday that she wants equality for the more than 3 million U.S. citizens who live in Puerto Rico. She says the bill is the first step in a process that would include a referendum offering voters a choice of statehood or independence.

Many say that Puerto Rico’s status as U.S. territory has contributed to a dire economic crisis that has prompted more than 200,000 people to move to the U.S. mainland in recent years.

Puerto Rico’s new Gov. Ricardo Rossello said during his inaugural speech on Monday that securing statehood is one of his priorities.