FLORIDA — More than 300,000 Puerto Ricans moved stateside after Hurricane Maria, including Rafael Ramos and Melvin Mendez, who said they’re thankful the Central Florida community has helped them establish and maintain their business after they moved.
University of Central Florida Puerto Rico Research Hub Director Dr. Fernando Rivera said the migration from the island has leveled off, and the main reason why many do it is now is for financial reasons.
He said that’s why he wouldn’t be surprised if many leave Central Florida.
“Tourism and hospitality sector has taken a huge impact because of COVID-19, and that’s a sector that provided a lot of jobs, especially for people who moved here after Hurricane Maria, especially Puerto Ricans,” Rivera said. “(They may) move to other places where manufacturing jobs may be going up.”
Rivera says Puerto Ricans who remain in Central Florida will play a huge role in the upcoming presidential election as both parties chase the Hispanic vote in the largest swing state.
Rafael Ramos moved stateside in January 2018 because of #HurricaneMaria. Since then, he’s opened a bakery in Kissimmee and continues to operate others in 🇵🇷 @MyNews13 #News13Osceola pic.twitter.com/xxrSpmx89J
— Jesse Canales (@jescanal) September 22, 2020