Monday, December 2, 2013

Puerto Ricans are moving to the mainland to reclaim their citizenship rights

Statehood remains an uneasy question for Puerto Ricans
By January, she had moved to Orlando, joining a record number of Puerto Ricans who have left the island in recent years — more than 60,000 in 2012 — the majority landing in Florida. Most are fleeing Puerto Rico’s economic crisis, yet their presence on the mainland is drawing newfound attention to an old question back home of whether Puerto Rico should become the 51st state, remain a territory or become independent.

“It’s like when women weren’t able to vote, when African American’s weren’t able to vote,” Rodriguez said. “One of the reasons that my husband and I moved here to Florida was to not feel like a ­second-class citizen.”

Florida is home to nearly 1 million Americans of Puerto Rican descent and is fast gaining on New York, which has about 1.2 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Statehood advocates are counting on Florida’s influence in presidential elections to amplify their message in a way that those in the Democratic stronghold of New York haven’t been able to do.