Why do some puerto ricans resist becoming a state?

This is a complicated question, and the answers are probably as varied as the people who resist statehood.

First, the vast majority of Puerto Rican residents (Nearly 6 out of 10 according to the last plebiscite) want a different political status than the current Free Associated Commonwealth designation (Estado Libre Asociado). The question becomes what status do the people of Puerto Rico want?

The answer for 2½-5% of the population of Puerto Rico is simple. They want complete and total independence and form a sovereign nation.

Another minority wants the best of both worlds. They want to form a sovereign commonwealth similar to The Martial Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, and other former US Protectorates in the Pacific. These are independent countries with very close contractual ties to the United States, including the retention of citizenship for a generation and the right of residents of the former territory to freely travel to and live in the United States without the need for special documents, green cards, etc.

Of the remaining people who are for a different type of status, but do no want statehood, most are seeking more autonomy without loosing citizenship in the US. They wish to be treated as a state without becoming a state. Currently, Puerto Rico is technically not part of the US. They are "owned by" or a "possession of" the United States. Any sovereignty or self-rule the island territory has is by legislation which can easily be overturned or curtailed. A recent run-in with the Federal government over a naval bombing range in Vieques (a Puerto Rican island off the Eastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico) caused some serious issues. That has since mostly been resolved, but it showed just how little control the local government had over its own territory.

So why not become a state and get 6 or 7 voting representatives and 2 Senators in Congress? Most feel it would lead to a loss of cultural identity. They point to Hawaii as an example of how the rich history and culture of the Polynesian people has all but been eradicated and trivialized for tourism.

Puerto Rico is the only territory in the US where Spanish is the population's main language. Though the official languages are both English and Spanish, Spanish is the only language spoken by more than half the population. Three or 4 decades ago the trend was for more people to be totally bilingual, each time some Congressman or Senator in the US Congress, or State legislature tries to pass some sort of "English Only" law, or makes an effort to make English the official language of the US, the Puerto Rican people and its legislature react by trying to drop English as much as they can. Federal law requires English for any federal government business, but local government is doing everything it can to hang on to Spanish. So by current law, all "state" business is done in Spanish.

Language helps define cultural identity. It is difficult for monolinguals to understand how much culture is defined by language. Translating words does not carry the same meaning in the other language. The Puerto Rican people, even the ones that want Statehood, want to hang on the their unique culture. At the moment, the population is pretty much evenly split of how best to hold on to the culture while at the same time having more of a say on how to govern their own territory, and keep close ties with the United States.