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.