Aponte Hernández: Exodus of Puerto Ricans to US Due to Colonial Status
SAN JUAN – The new wave of Puerto Ricans relocating to the United States mainland, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), exceeded 112,490 people in 2015, and is a result of the island’s “colonial status” and the conditions created during the administration of Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, José Aponte Hernández, secretary general of the New Progressive Party (NPP), said.
The party leader called on the U.S. Congress to “act now,” before the Puerto Rican exodus leaves the island without the ability to develop economically.
The legislator accused the Popular Democratic Party government of creating “the economic conditions that force this historic and very worrying exodus.”
“The over 90 new taxes, restrictions on business transactions, destruction of the education system, like the public employee retirement systems and the lack of an economic development program are the reasons behind the parting of thousands of Puerto Rican families every month,” he said.
Aponte Hernández noted that, according to the BTS, in 2014 the number of people who left reached a historic high of 83,010, which was exceeded in 2015, when 112,490 Puerto Ricans left, or 29,480 more.
He said studies on emigration note that about 308 Puerto Ricans go to the U.S. mainland daily in search of a better quality of life.
“The reason for the flight is the gross lack of opportunities and tools to change things. There are no jobs, and with the loss of about 2,100 people every week, the tax base is reduced dramatically each month,” he explained.
The party leader said that the “mass implementation of taxes on our people by the current administration is the fuel that drives this [population] loss; the engine that drives them is the inequality caused by the colonial status called ELA [Spanish acronym for free-associated state].”
He called on the U.S. Congress to act on “the will of the Puerto Rican people as expressed in the results of the 2012 plebiscite, when the majority rejected ‘the current territorial status in favor of statehood,'” his statement concludes.