By Franklin D. Lopez, former United Press International and The Associated Press news writer and former Director for Ethnic Affairs of the Carter Campaign in 1980
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“If you don’t get it, you don’t get it!- Yogi Berra!
Since the baptism of the so-called “commonwealth” (“free Associated State”) status on July 25, 1952, Puerto Ricans have moved to “swing states”, or “battleground states”, in record numbers. From 1952 to 1960 around 1 million Puerto Ricans moved to the United States. The massive wave of population was not caused by hurricanes or natural events, but by the economic collapse of the colonial creature engendered by Washington and San Juan that was labeled the final solution of the 3.6 million American citizens (in 1956) living in the territory of Puerto Rico. President Jimmy Carter was the first U.S President to recognize the colonial nature of the commonwealth “non status”.
On July 25, 1979 President Carter, with the strong support of Dr. Robert Pastor, his Latin America national security adviser at the White House N.S.C., enacted and adopted through a presidential proclamation named The Political Status of Puerto Rico: Alternative Futures granting american citizens the right to self determination, to choose between statehood, independence or remain as a territory. The presidential proclamation buried the Washington policy that was adopted in 1952 that the status of Puerto Rico was finally resolved when Puerto Ricans accepted the territorial constitution approved by the U.S. Congress.
Puerto Rico’s metropolitan traffic used to be heavy and slow. Rivera is a part of a wave of Puerto Ricans fleeing the island’s beleaguered recession stricken economy and transforming the Florida electorate.
Each week, as many as 1,000 Puerto Ricans arrive in central Florida, according to some estimates, joining a community of more than 1 million Puerto Ricans across the state that has grown tenfold since 1980. There is a new milestone in Florida’s rapid changing ethnic demography; Puerto Ricans is the largest Latino voting block in Florida. Jorge Duany, director and professor at Florida International University’s Cuban Research Institute, has described the “massive population displacement” in his new book, “Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs to Know.” Puerto Ricans have been the state’s fastest-growing Hispanic-origin group over the past decade, and thousands more arrived from the island following Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 – part of a broader movement of island residents to the U.S. mainland in recent years.
2016 Presidential Election Results
|Turnout||55.7% 0.8 pp|
Between 2005 and 2016, about a third of these migrants settled in Florida, in an area between the Orlando and Tampa Bay metro areas known as the Interstate 4 corridor.
Florida’s PuertoRican population now rivals that of New York, the main destination of the mid-20th century’s migration from the island. Puerto Ricans in Florida is the new political force to be reckoned with. Senator Rick Scott, fomer governor of Florida defeated Senator Bill Nelson, by 10,033 votes of 8.2 million votes cast. Senator Marco Rubio recognized his winning to the support of Puerto Ricans in Florida!
In another swing state, North Carolina, The U.S Census Bureau in 2014 estimated 89,212 Puerto Ricans lived in that state, and accounted for 1.7% of all Puerto Ricans living in the United States. The number of Puerto Ricans in North Carolina almost tripled from 31,117 in the year 2000 to 89,212 in 2014.
This contrasts with President Trump’s discriminatory policy of freezing the $9.3 billion dollars approved by Congress for the reconstruction of Puerto Rico. Trump has gone as far as calling all Puerto Rican elected officials corrupt and crooks! Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article128081289.html#storylink=c
Each week, as many as 1,000 Puerto Ricans arrive in central Florida, according to some estimates, joining a community of more than 1 million Puerto Ricans across the state that has grown tenfold since 1980.
The U.S Census Bureau recently published a report on the influx of Puerto Ricans to swing states. Both the GOP and the Democrats should read it with great care! The massive exodus has changed the presidential landscape for the 2020 elections. Just see where 20,000 or 50,000 thousand Puerto Rican votes can do in the following battleground states in the 2020 electoral contest:
1. Michigan 0.3 percent
Trump 47.6 percent, Clinton 47.3 percent
Difference: 13,080 votes
2. New Hampshire 0.4 percent
Clinton 47.6 percent, Trump 47.2 percent
Difference: 2,701 votes
3. Wisconsin 1 percent
Trump 47.9 percent, Clinton 46.9 percent
Difference: 27,257 votes
4. Pennsylvania 1.2 percent
Trump 48.8 percent, Clinton 47.6 percent
Difference: 68,236 votes (99 percent reporting)
5. Florida 1.2 percent
Trump 49 percent, Clinton 47.8 percent
Difference: 114,455 votes
6. Minnesota 1.5 percent
Clinton 46.4 percent, Trump 44.9 percent
Difference: 44,470 votes
7. Nevada 2.4 percent
Clinton 47.9 percent, Trump 45.5 percent
Difference: 26,434 votes
8. Maine 2.7 percent
Clinton 47.9 percent, Trump 45.2 percent
Difference: 19,995 votes
9. North Carolina 3.8 percent
Trump 49.9 percent, Clinton 46.1 percent
Difference: 177,009 votes
10. Arizona 3.9 percent
Trump 49.3 percent, Clinton 45.4 percent
Difference: 91,682 votes
In another swing state: the U.S. Census Bureau data indicated that, in 2016, Pennsylvania
was the state with the fourth most Puerto Ricans (444,263), accounting for 8.2 percent of
the Puerto Rican population in the United States. Puerto Ricans accounted for 3.5 percent
of the total population in Pennsylvania, and 49.4 percent of the state’s Hispanic or Latino
population in 2016. In other words, one in every two Latinos in Pennsylvania was Puerto
Rican. As of 2016, the Puerto Rican population was the largest group of Latinos in
Pennsylvania, followed by Mexicans (17.7%), Dominicans (11.5%), South Americans
(7.1%), Central Americans (6.6%), and Cubans (2.5%). Other Latinos comprised 5.3
percent of the state’s Latino population in 2016
The great contrast is Donald J. Trump’s policy of holding 9.3 billion dollars allocated and
approved by Congress for the reconstruction of Puerto Rico after being literally
destroyedby Hurricane Maria. Trump froze the transfer of the Federal CDBG and FEMA
allocationbecause he called all Puerto Rican elected officials corrupt and crooked! If the
GOP wants to have a fighting chance to win the Puerto Rican votes. Trump needs to
internalize that he must release the reconstruction moneys PRONTO and he needs to
support what 72% of Puerto Ricans in Florida support: “Making Puerto Rico the 51st
state.”The Trump administration must review the history of the state of Hawaii after in
enteredthe union in 1959 in order to conclude that making Puerto Rico a state will attract
Puerto Ricans living in the Union to move back to the islands where currently there are
362,000 empty and abandoned housing dwellings in Puerto Rico! When Hawaii entered
the Union in 1959 it had 440,000 people and in 2019 the U.S. Census estimates it to be
Becoming a state gave the Hawaiian Islands 1 million people population gain,
strengthening the economy, making it among the top 5 states with the highest per capita
income. Don’teven think about granting independence or mentioning that the
administration may grant it to Puerto Rico! Recent polls in Puerto Rico revealed that 92%
of the populationwill move to the union if Puerto Rico becomes an independent republic.
Federal budget analysts can confirm that it costs the federal government twice as much
to provide government services to Puerto Ricans on the mainland than in the territory.
Therefore, the road map leads towards statehood! Happy Veteran’s Day!