Puerto Rican Migration to Nyc Essay examples

1148 Words Nov 24th, 2008 5 Pages
Christine Costanzo Puerto Rican Migration to New York City

The story of the Puerto Rican people is unique in the history of U.S. immigration, just as Puerto Rico occupies a distinctive—and sometimes confusing—position in the nation’s civic fabric. Puerto Rico has been a possession of the U.S. for more than a century, but it has never been a state. Its people have been U.S. citizens since 1917, but they have no vote in Congress. As citizens, the people of Puerto Rico can move throughout the 50 states just as any other Americans can—legally, this is considered internal migration, not immigration. However, in moving to the mainland, Puerto Ricans leave a homeland with its own distinct identity and culture, and the transition can
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At the same time, many migrants struggled with poverty, unemployment, and racial discrimination in their new home. Darker-skinned Puerto Ricans often found themselves excluded from jobs, education, and housing, and were frequently attacked by non-Puerto Rican street gangs. Meanwhile, for most Puerto Ricans the language barrier sometimes made it difficult to find well-paying work or to navigate government agencies or other English-speaking institutions. As a second generation was born into the mainland Puerto Rican community, new political movements were born as well. Puerto Ricans organized to campaign for greater civil rights, for equal access to education and employment, and for changes in the status of Puerto Rico. In a 1951 referendum, the Puerto Rican population had voted overwhelmingly to become a U.S. commonwealth, rather than remain a colony. Many groups, however, continued to call for full independence, and later in the decade militant nationalists fired on the U.S. House of Representatives and attempted to assassinate President Harry Truman. Political organizations also sprang up to agitate for social reform and greater economic aid to the island, which continued to struggle economically. At the same time, cultural organizations such as the Nuyorican Poets urged Puerto Ricans on the mainland to become more aware of their heritage, and produced poems and songs that examined many of the harshest aspects of the migrant

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