1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
The ongoing tragedy in Puerto Rico resulting from hurricane Maria is accelerating a trend of mass migration from the island to the mainland. The economic downturn, the massive government debt, the deficient infrastructure and lack of employment opportunities for families all have encouraged this exodus of mostly young people and families.
Now all these factors have increased exponentially; it is almost assured that migration will increase as people, flee the devastation on the island. Moreover, the physical damage will take years to be repaired.
This presents both a challenge for Puerto Ricans and our friends to find ways to asset these families as they try to put their lives together again, but also an opportunity to bring these folks to a Minnesota in desperate need for the talent, vitality and energy of our Puerto Rican community.
The Coalición can work with government organizations and other partners to provide an informational package about housing, jobs and schools in the Twin Cities areas and perhaps selected out-state communities (such as Rochester) to encourage Puerto Rican families to move here. The crisis in PR will last for years so this could be an ongoing outreach initiative that could significantly help reshape the demographic outlook of Minnesota.
Targeting both the island and locations of initial settlement, news media reports indicate that many, if not most of the families leaving Puerto Rico, are settling in Florida, but that state was also battered by hurricane Irma and its economy and education systems are likely to be overwhelmed by the influx.
Other initial places of settlement, like the New York-New Jersey area or Hartford, Connecticut, also lag behind Minnesota in economic opportunities. The outreach initiative towards Puerto Rican families on the island should also be expanded to include Florida and other states where difficult local conditions may prompt these newly arrived families to look elsewhere for resettlement.