The New Promised Land for Puerto Ricans

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

With the economic crisis in Puerto Rico, a growing number of Puerto Ricans have had to move from the island to somewhere with a better economic outlook. Many have been moving to the United States. However, many parts of the U.S. are far from experiencing an economic boon. Some parts of the United States have recovered better than others, but there are areas that remain depressed. One place that many Puerto Ricans did not imagine would look so good is now a place an increasing number of Puerto Ricans are moving to—the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic has been experiencing an economic boon for ten years. With an annual growth rate of seven percent, and political stability, the Dominican Republic has actually been attracting Dominicans to return to that island nation. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. immigration had detained 133 Dominicans in Puerto Rico in 2014. This number is a considerable decrease over what it had been a decade before, when the U.S. Coast Guard detained 1,565 Dominicans trying to enter Puerto Rico. There is no question that the Dominican Republic’s economic prosperity is preventing Dominicans from wanting to leave.

Even with an increasing number of Dominicans not wanting to leave, the island nation is experiencing a man power shortage. In come the Puerto Ricans. Many young Puerto Ricans, looking for stable work and a stable environment, are moving to the Dominican Republic. Since these young Puerto Ricans can speak English as well as Spanish, and have job skills not easily found in the Dominican Republic, they can find employment in the island nation’s tourism sector or its financial sector. This is a major win for the Dominican Republic, and those Puerto Ricans who go there for a better life. Sadly, it is a lose scenario for Puerto Rico and the United States. What Puerto Rico can ill afford to lose is those young people who can help make a difference in reversing Puerto Rico’s current economic mess.

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