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Mass Influx to Florida from Puerto Rico Could Have Political Implications

The State of Florida was expecting 100,000 new arrivals from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The actual number is twice that — so far. The Florida Division of Emergency Management pegged the number of newcomers at 230,000 on December 11, 2017.

7,756 students from Puerto Rico have enrolled in Florida public schools, mostly in Orange and Osceola counties, and Governor Scott has declared a State of Emergency to help cope with the costs.

In addition to the financial implications for Florida, there could be political implications as well. Florida has historically been a swing state — a state which can go Democratic or Republican in any given election.

The National Institute for Latino Policy lists three factors that could determine whether the new Puerto Rican influence will spell tough times for Republican majorities in Congress in the 2018 midterm elections and the Trump campaign in 2020:

  • How many of the newcomers will stay in Florida until the 2020 elections? Some may return to Puerto Rico when electricity and clean water have been restored to the Island.
  • How many will register to vote? Getting out the Puerto Rican vote in Florida will probably be a high priority task for campaigns on both sides of the political fence. Puerto Rico’s voter turnout rate has been as high as 80% in the past, a much higher number than in the States, but recent elections have seen lower turnout. Puerto Ricans in the States have also historically had lower voter participation than those living on the Island.
  • How will the current administration’s policies affect Puerto Rico? NILP suggests that 2020 could be a chance for “Puerto Rico’s revenge,” but there’s still time for the administration to improve its image on this issue.

Observers, including members of Congress, have been predicting since the hurricane that the United States would, if it refused to provide sufficient aid in Puerto Rico, find itself providing that aid in the States. People born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens and can freely travel to any State. Once arrived in a State, they are eligible for assistance just as any U.S. citizen is.

Puerto Rico continues to face problems with basic services. Less than 70% of the Island has electricity, according to the Puerto Rico government, and some regions are still without reliable water and sewer services. Official predictions suggest that Puerto Rico may not have electricity fully restored until the summer of 2018.

2 thoughts on “Mass Influx to Florida from Puerto Rico Could Have Political Implications”

  1. My memory of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans goes back to only the late 1950s; however, since then the Puerto Ricans have had multiple times to slide into Independence or USA Statehood. My memories of those multiple times have shown to me that the Puerto Ricans are neither ready for Independence nor Statehood. Sadly, the Puerto Ricans have been victimised for sixty-nine years by the bastard’s ignorance and fear, collectively known as Commonwealth. A creation of the Opium smoker who created pipe dreams that today still dance round and round in the heads of the Puerto Rican people.

    Perhaps it is best for all to abandon Puerto Rico’s foolishness and run as fast as you can travel to either Costa Rica and its Citizenship or the USA and its Citizenship

  2. ONLY if we were UNITED with a more conservative mentality – nothing is for FREE, someone has to pay for it. So much blaming going around instead of uniting for the island sake. “All Politics with someone else money”- After all it was mother nature who destroyed the island- not Rosello or Trump. You can catch more flies with honey than s–t.

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