The History Of Puerto Ricans' Migration To The United States

1679 words - 7 pages

The History of Puerto Ricans' Migration to the United States

Immigration to the United States has been occurring for centuries now. For years people from all different parts of the globe have dreamed of living in the United States, which is known to many foreigners as the land of opportunity. There are so many ethnic groups that exist in the United States that it has become known as the melting pot of the world. The Puerto Rican's migration to the United States was not an easy process. The Puerto Ricans faced discrimination in many walks of life in the USA. They were taken advantage of because they were naive and vulnerable to this new life. Eventually, in the twentieth century, the Puerto Ricans realized that they could stand up for themselves and what started out as class politics ended up giving rise to ethnic politics.

The Puerto Rican's first migrated to the United States in the1860s. It wasn't until the US domination of the island economically that the numbers of migration to the US started to grow. The Unites States found it necessary to implement a capitalistic way of life, which in turn brought about the problem of overpopulation. A way for the US to handle this situation was to ship many Puerto Ricans to the United States. Once they reached the mainland the Puerto Ricans were in need of work and willing to work for low wages. Puerto Ricans had absolutely no say in what their salary would be. They only received $.05 above the minimum wage for agricultural workers in New Jersey. For more history on Puerto Ricans and their migration to the United States read Paul Alfonso's paper. His paper describes the Puerto Rican history and struggle in migrating to the United States.

Puerto Ricans also faced the problem of low wages when they migrated to Hawaii at the end of the nineteenth century. They were in competition with the immigrants from Japan. The Puerto Ricans were viewed as dirty and the Japanese were preferred over them. Therefore they were forced to work for extremely low wages. In the article "Policies of Exploitation and Racism: Puerto Ricans in Hawaii" it reads of disturbing
examples of the unfair treatment they received there. The Puerto Ricans were thought of as dirty and lost jobs to the Japanese that immigrated there because there were considered better workers and cleaner.

During the time period of 1898 to 1917 the Puerto Ricans that were living in the United States were considered to be citizens of nowhere. In 1901 there was a Supreme Court decision that stated Puerto Ricans: "belongs to, but is not part of America". The Americans felt as though they could just claim this land to be their own but not claim full responsibility for it. Puerto Rico at the time was inhabited by only about one million people. By the year 1917 Congress passed an act that made
Puerto Ricans "citizens". Even though this act stated that Puerto Ricans were "citizens" of the US the Puerto Ricans still did not...

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