Javier Palomarez, President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), issued the following statement following the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the response by congressional leaders.
The USHCC calls on congress and federal government officials to expedite disaster relief and funding efforts to Puerto Rico immediately.
Following what was the worst hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years, a majority of the local 3.4 million U.S. citizens are now facing severe post-disaster conditions. These Puerto Rican men, women and children are no less American than any of us on the mainland. Major roads, homes and utilities across the island have now been destroyed, or are now severely damaged from Hurricane Maria. Moreover, major infrastructure damage has left the island with massive power outages and no communications capabilities.
Given the severity and bearing of this storm, the USHCC urges congressional leaders and federal government officials to prioritize relief and recovery efforts before conditions deteriorate any further. Congress and the Executive branch ought to be responding to this disaster as if the storm had swept through Washington or their home districts. In fact, I would remind legislators that the island of Puerto Rico is home to more American citizens than the states of Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Iowa, Utah, North and South Dakota or even our nation’s capital. These are Americans who desperately need and deserve our support.