Senator Bill Nelson Demands Action on Evacuee Issues

Since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in September, 2017, FEMA has used the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA)  program to house some 7,000 Puerto Rican families in hotels in Puerto Rico and in 30 states. After four extensions, that program is coming to an end. On June 30, 2018, FEMA’s TSA support will end… Read more »

Panel to Investigate Hurricane Maria Response Proposed

A group of four Democratic members of Congress led by Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has introduced legislation to create a national commission to investigate the federal response to the 2017 natural disasters in Puerto Rico. Rep. Velázquez along with Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), the Ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, and Senators… Read more »

Cell Phone Data Tracks Puerto Rico Migration

How many people have left Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria and where have they gone? How many have returned to the Island? The Census Bureau has no answers to these questions yet; their last population estimate for Puerto Rico is for July of 2017. Data on the subject has relied on information that can’t give… Read more »

Puerto Rico Voted for Statehood

It has been a year since Puerto Rico voters last headed to the polls to vote for their preferred political status. On June 11th, 2017, 97% of voters chose statehood from the three options that the U.S. Department of Justice named as the “viable options” for Puerto Rico’s status: statehood independence, with or without Free… Read more »

Congress Seeks Action on Energy in Puerto Rico

With Hurricane Season 2018 officially beginning, Congress is increasingly talking about Puerto Rico. A lot of the conversations focus on energy. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, has committed to holding a hearing on Puerto Rico in his committee before the end of the month. “We need to look at what… Read more »

UN Report on Extreme Poverty Blames Puerto Rico’s Political Status

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Philip Alston has presented a sharply critical report on the USA to the UN Human Right Council in which he singles out Puerto Rico for its unique political problems. “Political rights and poverty are inextricably linked in Puerto Rico,” Alston continued. “If it were a state, Puerto Rico… Read more »

Congressional Candidate Fred Costello Calls on Congress for Action on Statehood Vote

Fred Costello, a Republican candidate for Congress in Florida’s 6th District, is calling on Congress to take action toward resolving Puerto Rico’s political status. Costello’s remarks are consistent with the political state of play in Florida, in which numerous candidates – including Sen. Nelson (D-FL) and his opponent Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) – have announced… Read more »

New Study of Hurricane Casualties Brings Statehood Discussion to the Fore

It can be hard for observers to understand why Americans living in the 50 States can see Puerto Rico experiencing grave hardship and look away. After all, these are fellow U.S. citizens, people who serve in the U.S. military, a territory of — and therefore the responsibility of — the United States. One of the… Read more »

Senator Bill Nelson Supports Statehood

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) has made a statement endorsing statehood for Puerto Rico. “I have always supported self-determination and equal treatment for all U.S. citizens,” said Nelson. “It seems to me that statehood is the answer.” Nelson has previously said that people living in Puerto Rico should decide the status of the Island. Earlier in… Read more »

New Estimate Puts Hurricane Maria Deaths in Puerto Rico over 5,000

The first estimate of deaths caused by Hurricane Maria’s landfall in Puerto Rico was 64. There were, at that point, just 64 confirmed deaths in the U.S. territory. Later, as communication with rural areas was restored, that number grew. Deaths from contaminated water, deaths of individuals in Intensive Care units which had no electricity to… Read more »