Puerto Ricans asked for Food But Donald Trump Said “NO”
Donald Trump denied the basic right of Puerto Ricans on their face. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello says that the federal government has denied the U.S. territory’s request for its citizens to redeem food stamps for ready-to-eat hot meals, amid widespread food shortages and power outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The nearly 1.3 million people on food stamps in Puerto Rico — almost 40 percent of its population— are unable to use the benefits of the federal program to buy fasts food or pre-prepared meals at supermarkets, according to The New York Times.
Food-stamp recipients are usually prohibited from buying hot foods and other items that can be eaten “in store” such as sandwiches, soup or pizza.
Puerto Rico requested the administration temporarily lift the restrictions on the program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
So far, the administration has refused, even after granting similar waivers in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and in Florida after Hurricane Irma.
The SNAP waivers for Texas and Florida expired Sept. 30.
Many of the island’s supermarkets are still without electricity after the storm, disabling the computers needed to redeem the credits.
Rossello said that 95 percent of Puerto Rico still remains without power, more than one week after Maria slammed into the island.
The government has stepped up its response to the developing humanitarian crisis, deploying military teams to deliver shipments of food to citizens.
However, the Times reports that bureaucratic inefficiencies have delayed deliveries to many towns, which have impaired accessibility from the storm’s damage to roads and infrastructure.
President Trump landed in San Juan on Tuesday, where he praised the efforts of federal and territory officials in leading cleanup efforts after the storm.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the SNAP program, did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.