‘Mass exodus’ from Puerto Rico may hit South Florida

Schools and hospitals are bracing for a surge of Puerto Rican evacuees in the destructive wake of Hurricane Maria

Oct.October 01, 2017 10:00 AM

Ricardo Rosselló, governor of Puerto Rico, (Credit: Alejandro Granadillo/Bloomberg)

Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans may leave the hurricane-damaged island for South Florida.

Ricardo Rosselló, the governor of Puerto Rico, says a “mass exodus” from the island to the mainland may be under way because of widespread damage by Hurricane Maria, which hit the island on Sept. 20.

Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools, said the school system is planning for a surge in enrollment by Puerto Rican students.

Gov. Rick Scott, who visited Puerto Rico on Thursday, has requested that Florida colleges and universities allow students who evacuated Puerto Rico to pay in-state tuition rates.

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, a native of Puerto Rico who represents a district in Central Florida, said he has contacted state officials to ensure that Florida’s hospitals and schools are braced for a flood of evacuees.

Juan Pagan, president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County, said the state’s economy could benefit from a spike in the size of Florida’s Puerto Rican population, which now exceeds one million.

But Pagan also told the Sun-Sentinel that the economy of Puerto Rico could take a hit if a large segment of its educated and affluent population abandons the island. [Sun-Sentinel] Mike Seemuth

Related Articles

Daily Digest Miami

Keith Menin snags a home on North Bay Road, Brickell Flatiron commercial space buyer seeks court-ordered discount: Daily digest

Brookstone files for bankruptcy, will close its 5 stores at South Florida malls

Food halls proliferate as the dining format finds more fans in Florida

FEMA cuts off almost 1,800 Puerto Ricans from housing assistance

Court battle ensues after “bizarre” death of Andrea Greenberg

JLL snags executive VP Ryan Nunes from CBRE

Blackstone, others could lose millions in Puerto Rico real estate bets

Zika infections are well below Florida’s 2016 level