Is Miss Puerto Rico Really Puerto Rican?

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There is controversy brewing over the newly crowned Miss Puerto Rico.

Bodine Koehler Peña won the title this past Monday and is set to represent the island in the Miss Universe 2012 competition. Now she finds herself at the center of an argument regarding her nationality. It all stems from the fact that Peña was born in the Netherlands. Her father is from there, and her mother is Dominican. However, the beauty queen grew up in Puerto Rico.

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There have been heated debates about whether Peña is even qualified to wear the Miss Puerto Rico crown, but pageant officials said they knew about her background when the teen entered the contest.

Desirée Lowry, the national director of the competition, said the rules state that participants need to be citizens of Puerto Rico who have lived here for at least six months. 

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“I am from here, I am Puerto Rican,” Peña said in her defense during a recent press conference. “I have grown and evolved as a person here and I’m very proud to have the opportunity to represent Puerto Rico and to bring in the next crown.”

This raises so many interesting questions about identity that we talk about a lot in the Latina offices.

Can you claim to be from somewhere if you weren't actually born there? If your parents are ethnically from a different country, but you are born in Latin America: Does that make you Latina? We want to know what you think! Sound off your comments below.

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