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USA-FLORIDA/PUERTORICO
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January 12, 2018
Across United States, state and local officials are scrambling to manage an influx of Puerto Ricans,...
Orlando, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Displaced Puerto Ricans seek refuge in Florida
Across United States, state and local officials are scrambling to manage an influx of Puerto Ricans, a migration that is impacting education budgets, housing, demographics and voter rolls in communities where these newcomers are landing. Florida, already home to more than 1 million Puerto Ricans, is on the front lines. About 300,000 island residents have arrived in the state since early October, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. While some Puerto Ricans may eventually return home, many will not. The island is still reeling months after Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, wreaked catastrophic damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. Nearly 40 percent of residents still lack electricity. The economy has been devastated.ÊFor Florida, the inflow of Puerto Ricans is altering public budgets and perhaps the political calculus in a state that President Donald Trump won by a slim margin in 2016. Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, are on pace to overtake Cuban-Americans within a few years as the state's largest Latino voting bloc. Many criticised the Trump administration's hurricane response as inadequate. Politicians are taking notice. Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott has reached out to these newcomers. The state has opened reception centres where Puerto Ricans can apply for food stamps and Medicaid, the federal healthcare system for the poor. Scott has asked for an additional $100 million in state spending to house arriving families, many of whom are doubled up with relatives or packed into ageing hotels. REUTERS/Alvin Baez SEARCH "PUERTO RICO FLORIDA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. Matching text: USA-FLORIDA/PUERTORICO
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