2020 Presidential Candidates Put on Notice by Puerto Ricans

Oct 15, 2019
11:00 AM

WASHINGTON, DC — This morning, the Power 4 Puerto Rico coalition launched PRpolicy.org to show which policy proposals and positions the #2020 presidential candidates have released so far  —or not— in support of Puerto Rico.

Throughout this presidential cycle, PRpolicy.org will track, update and share the specific actions candidates say they would take for Puerto Rico as president. The site is launching with a focus on the candidates debating this evening in Ohio, and is the latest in a series of actions that are part of the #ShowUsYourPRPolicy campaign, a national effort demanding that all the candidates present comprehensive policy platforms addressing the issues affecting the lives of the more than 8 million Puerto Rican U.S. citizens who reside in the archipelago and the states.

The site includes:

  • Open letter and policy blueprint to candidates signed by 60 local and national organizations.
  • Video messages directed at the candidates from Puerto Ricans and allies across the nation.
  • Map of the United States with the estimated Puerto Rican population in each state.

“PRPolicy.org will allow anyone who cares about Puerto Rico to see and compare the substance of what presidential candidates commit to doing for the Island’s people and families displaced throughout states,” said Erica González, Director of Power 4 Puerto Rico. “Considering the long line of progressive and liberal candidates bidding for the Oval Office, it’s a surprise that so far only one former candidate —Bill de Blasio— has presented a substantive policy platform for Puerto Rico. The candidates have a lot to prove to our community, whether we are in Lorain, Houston, Lancaster or San Juan.”

“For too long, presidential candidates of both parties have ignored the plight of the people of Puerto Rico,” said Power 4 Puerto Rico Senior Advisor  Federico A. de Jesús. “At a time when President Trump has targeted our community with insults and going as far as illegally withholding disaster relief funds duly approved by Congress, merely criticizing Trump will not cut it for Puerto Rican voters. The more than 8 million Puerto Ricans demand more than respect; we demand specific results to tackle protracted issues ranging from the harmful Jones Act and hurricane reconstruction, to resolving 120 years of colonialism through a self-determination process that is fair, transparent, inclusive of all options, and binding on the federal government. ¡Basta ya!”

The site launched hours before the Democratic primary debate in Ohio, which is home to more than 118,000 Puerto Ricans. Generations of Puerto Ricans have lived in Ohio, a migration sparked by a post-World War II search for jobs in the steel industry there. In recent years, Puerto Ricans fleeing the Hurricane María disaster, amid other crises on the island, have moved to Ohio.

“With more than 100,000 Puerto Ricans in battleground Ohio, and the candidates understanding how close elections can come, it is critical that they all present their comprehensive proposals for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Selina Pagán, president of the Young Latino Network in Cleveland. “We are watching and waiting.”

“We urge the  presidential candidates to treat the residents of Puerto Rico to the same  ‘privileges and immunities’ provided by the Constitution of the United States to all other U.S. citizens and make the fundamental and core promises of equality and freedom a reality to those living in Puerto Rico,” said José Feliciano of the Hispanic Roundtable in Ohio.

The launch of PRpolicy.org follows a multi-city action taken on Sept. 20, the second anniversary of Hurricane María, that took the #ShowUsYourPRPolicy campaign to the doorsteps of presidential campaign offices.

Throughout this electoral cycle, Power 4 Puerto Rico and partners will stress to presidential candidates that if they wish to earn the vote of the Puerto Rican community, they must present concrete plans to address long-standing issues, including FULL participation of Island residents in critical federal anti-poverty programs such as Medicaid, Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); economic tools such as Jones Act exemption; federal tax reform and incentives for job creation, along with improved labor standards; debt relief; and the recognition of the right to self-determination of the Puerto Rican people along with a permanent and self-sustained, inclusive, fair and transparent process to end 121 years of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico.

The #ShowUsYourPRPolicy campaign, backed by more than 60 national and local organizations, was launched in March with the release of an open letter and policy blueprint directed at all of the presidential candidates.