Sara Lonardo, 202/730-7332,

Issued November 18, 2017

SEIU’s Sáenz: Time to end the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, not ignore it

WASHINGTON—SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s supplemental funding request, which ignores the devastation and need facing Puerto Ricans post-Hurricane Maria:

“With lives and the future of Puerto Ricans on the line, the Trump administration’s latest funding request demonstrates that they are either totally clueless about the reality in Puerto Rico or being intentionally negligent of the dire situation that still exists. This proposal treats Puerto Ricans and those who live in the US Virgin Islands like second-class citizens. Sadly, this is consistent with what we have previously seen from the Trump administration, whether it’s attacking Dreamers and TPS recipients or refusing to acknowledge the anti-Black racism that still exists in our society.

“While the Administrations and Republicans in Congress continue to prioritize unpopular tax giveaways to corporations and millionaires, the real crisis in Puerto Rico and other areas ravaged by natural disasters continues to grow.  

"The American public will see right through this attempt to rig Puerto Rico’s economy and political system against the working men and women who are putting their hearts into rebuilding the island. Whether it is infrastructure, health and safety, or economic growth this package is woefully inadequate to address the needs of those who are suffering, and brings into question the administration’s dedication to long-term recovery. Furthermore, this request fails to address major issues, like access to healthcare through Medicaid. 

“Members of Congress, from coast to coast, should listen to their constituents, show some independence and ensure Puerto Ricans have enough resources to rebuild in a sustainable way. Puerto Ricans need to lead that process, not an unelected control board made up of people who don’t even live on the island. 

“SEIU members are going to continue to use the power of our union and make our voices heard until this promise is a reality for our Puerto Rican sisters and brothers."