Puerto Rican Migration Affects Florida

By: Kayla Stephensen

Category 5 Hurricane Maria battered already worn out Puerto Rico months after Hurricane Irma, another Category 5, hit. This is resulting in one of the largest migrations to Florida from Puerto Rico in such a small amount of time, specifically to the city of Orlando. Mayor Teresa Jacobs of Orange County comments, “We’re one of the fastest-growing regions in the county. We’ve been handling growth. We just can’t handle it in a matter of weeks.” This is most likely due to the fact that many Puerto Ricans have to start completely over after the destruction of everything they own and they would rather go to Florida than stay in their demolished “home,” or what’s left of it.

With so many Puerto Ricans coming to start over, many hotels are booked for months which may cause problems for the incoming tourist season. Orlando gets nearly 66 million tourists each year, so those refugees currently banking on a hotel may have to find a more lasting home.

This abrupt migration is expected to change the already adapting city to accommodate people and their opinions. Many Puerto Ricans vote Democrat, and with such an influx of people with similar opinions, it may affect the swing state more in coming elections.

Of course, those migrating in bring their children with them to put them in school. The increase of Spanish-speaking children, who often only speak one language, has led to an increased need for bilingual teachers in the area.

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