Monday, September 25, 2017

Another strike against rescuing Puerto Ricans

Shakezulu notes that an effective federal response to the disaster in Puerto Rico would, at a minimum, mean "relocating people to someplace they’re not five seconds from a cholera outbreak." It is true, if P.R. were attached to the continental U.S. evacuations from the dangerous places in a disaster area would happy without anyone giving it a second thought.

But there's another strike against the P.R. evacuation scenario other than its island geography: Puerto Ricans don't get a vote for President or for any member of Congress who can vote on legislation (although they do have a non-voting Representative). Because they are U.S. citizens, if they relocate to a state in the union, and establish a domicile there, they can immediately vote. (They don't have to go through any years-long naturalization process).

Which means any place that accepts even a fraction of the 3.5 million who live in Puerto Rico is going to get a significant influx of new Hispanic and almost-certainly Democratic voters. Already the wildly unpopular Trump Administration is facing a possible democratic wave in 2018. Doing the right humanitarian thing for P.R. is sure to make things worse for them. I have no doubt they will not encourage mass evacuation to the mainland, cholera or no cholera.