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Displaced By Hurricane Maria, Many Puerto Ricans Are Moving To Texas. Some Plan To Stay A While.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)
After the devastation Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico, many residents are moving. Some are headed for Texas.

From Texas Standard:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a lot of Puerto Ricans are setting their sights on becoming Texans. Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., its citizens are American citizens, too – free to locate anywhere in the country they wish.


Mildred Lopez, a Puerto Rican community organizer and wife of the pastor of the Emanuel Church in Plano, says the members of her church are all Puerto Rican. Many, including Lopez’ husband, have family on the island who are hoping to move to Texas – some temporarily, many for the long haul.

Her husband and his brothers are planning to bring their parents to Texas for at least a couple of months.

“They [are] elderly. They don’t have the food, they don’t have the water. It’s very difficult for them,” Lopez says.

Lopez says her church is preparing to welcome other families that are leaving the island. Texas is an attractive destination for Puerto Ricans at any time, Lopez says.

“There’s a lot of jobs here in Texas,” she says. “The education is great. And I think that by word of mouth, people are going to start moving to Texas…”

Despite the devastation in Puerto Rico, Lopez thinks the people will rebuild.

“I know that my island is gonna rise,” she says. “I know that my island is going to be restored. I know that my island is going to rebuild. But it’s gonna take time.”


Written by Shelly Brisbin.

Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.