14 Sep Foreign in a Domestic Sense. Click to keep reading…
As many employers struggle to fill job vacancies, displaced Puerto Ricans are being recruited for jobs in the U.S. Industries that hire workers via temporary visas are having an especially hard time filling positions, and find hiring Puerto Ricans a solution that helps alleviate the recent criminalization of immigrant workers. President’s Trump’s immigration policies and the devastation of the island following Hurricane Maria have lead to an influx of Puerto Ricans displaced by the storm. Conditions in Puerto Rico are dire. Existing economic policies, a fiscal crisis, and the lack of critical infrastructure has created a mass economic exodus. It’s expected that up to 25 percent of the population will have migrated by 2028.
Active recruitment of Puerto Ricans has been going on long before Maria. For the past ten years, doctors, police officers, medical professionals and engineers were being targeted by both public and private employers. The island has played a key role in our labor markets as far back as the 1940’s, when the U.S. addressed labor shortages with programs like the Puerto Rican Farm Labor program. Depressed wages in Puerto Rico have placed many workers in a pool of underpaid workers in the U.S. that supplements the work of immigrants.
The Puerto Rican government is benefiting from the current migratory wave. The exceptional delay in rebuilding from the storm, combined with corruption, furloughs and wage cuts would have been even more harmful, if so many people hadn’t already left the island. In the meantime, many Puerto Ricans are utilizing programs and organizations in the U.S. that tend to displaced international refugees.
Check out this Washington Post article to learn more about the Puerto Rican migration.