Free Minds & Free Markets

Could Puerto Rico Be the Solution to Our Latest Immigration Fight?: New at Reason

The island’s population has fallen dramatically even as Spanish speakers from other nations are desperate for a new home.

Wiktor Wojtas/Dreamstime.comWiktor Wojtas/Dreamstime.comThousands of Spanish-speakers have fled from their homelands in Guatemala, Honduras, and elsewhere in Central America, only to be greeted at the border with harsh family separation policies and other barriers designed to discourage foreign newcomers.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico's population has suffered a sharp decline in recent years. After peaking at 3.8 million in 2004, the island's population fell by to an estimated 3.3 million people by mid-2017 due to low birth rates and out-migration. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the rate of departures spiked, with many of those leaving not expected to return. Projections recently released by Puerto Rico's federal oversight board call for a 6.4 percent population decline during the current fiscal year, with further decreases through 2023.

Could we solve one problem with another, asks Marc Joffe.

Photo Credit: Wiktor Wojtas/


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