Puerto Rico

A Great Migration Is Set to Transform Florida

New York Times: “More than 168,000 people have flown or sailed out of Puerto Rico to Florida since the hurricane, landing at airports in Orlando, Miami and Tampa, and the port in Fort Lauderdale. Nearly half are arriving in Orlando, where they are tapping their networks of family and friends. An additional 100,000 are booked on flights to Orlando through Dec. 31…  Large numbers are also settling in the Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas.”

“With so many arriving so abruptly, the migration is expected to transform Orlando, a city that has already become a stronghold of Puerto Ricans, many of them fleeing the island’s economic crisis in recent years. The Puerto Rican population of Florida has exploded from 479,000 in 2000 to well over one million today, according to the Pew Research Center. The number of Puerto Ricans in Orlando was 210,000 in 2014… and since then the count has risen rapidly as more arrived during the economic crisis.”

“The impact of this latest wave is likely to stretch from schools and housing to the work force and even politics. Puerto Ricans, who are American citizens and tilt Democratic, could sway the electoral results of one of the country’s most pivotal swing states.”

Trump Threatens to Abandon Puerto Rico Recovery

President Trump “served notice that he may pull back federal workers from Puerto Rico, effectively threatening to abandon the U.S. territory amid a humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” the Washington Post reports.

“More than three weeks after Maria, more than 80 percent of the island is still without power. Just 63 percent of the island’s residents have access to clean drinking water, and only 60 percent of wastewater treatment plants are operating, according to FEMA.”

Exodus From Puerto Rico Could Remake Florida Politics

New York Times: “Every day dozens of Puerto Ricans pour into the Orlando area, fleeing their homes and lives ravaged by Hurricane Maria. In the months to come, officials here said, that number could surge to more than 100,000. And those numbers could remake politics in Florida, a state where the last two presidential and governor’s races were decided by roughly one percentage point or less.”

“There are more than a million Puerto Ricans in Florida, a number that has doubled since 2001, driven largely until now by a faltering economy. But their political powers have evolved slowly in this state, and the wave of potential voters from the island could quickly change that calculus.”

Trump’s ‘Heckuva Job’ Moment

Rick Klein: “The first two storms, it appears, were only wind-ups to the presidential moment that presents itself now. The crisis in Puerto Rico figures to define President Trump’s responses to this remarkable string of powerful storms. After first seeming to blame Puerto Rico’s poor infrastructure and fiscal crises, Trump is now praising FEMA and expressing his wish that the ‘press would treat fairly.’ But this is one where claims of ‘fake news’ will likely be subsumed by the images and realities.”

“Those realities include millions of American citizens in total crisis. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is warning that the lack of ‘clear command, control and communication’ will cause the situation to ‘deteriorate rapidly.’ The general who oversaw the federal response to Hurricane Katrina is calling the situation – yes – ‘like Katrina.'”