Gov. Scott Declares a State of Emergency for Puerto Rican Refugees

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In addition to granting the Governor more flexibility to address the humanitarian crises, the executive order lays out numerous guidelines for each of the state’s 67 counties.

Such guidelines will empower the head of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Wesley Maul, to lead the state in responding to the large influx of refugees. It also forces the state to provide sufficient funding for all operations, directs that public shelters be set up at the behest of local emergency-management officials, and frees the hands of physicians and pharmacists statewide to provide increased supplies of prescription medications. The order will also prohibit price-gouging.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who has always been vocal on Puerto Rico’s behalf, said that these refugees are entitled to enter the states.

“They certainly have a right to come,” Rubio said. “Puerto Ricans have every right to move to the mainland. They’re U.S. citizens. They have the same right to come here as people living in Oklahoma do. What I’ve always said is, if someone comes here from Puerto Rico, it should be because they want to come, not because they have to come because conditions are so bad.”