NJ leaders call on federal government for more aid for Puerto Rico as Trump signs disaster declaration

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A group of New Jersey leaders has called on the federal government to come through with more disaster aid for Puerto Rico in the wake of a series of earthquakes that have devastated the island.

More than 1,000 tremors have hit Puerto Rico since the start of 2020, including a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, leaving hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans without power, water or housing.

“The people of Puerto Rico are United States citizens; American citizens,” says Sen. Bob Menendez.

Menendez, flanked by a group of Latino leaders, said that Puerto Rico is getting second-class treatment from the Trump administration. He says that billions of dollars in aid approved by Congress after Hurricane Maria in 2017 have not yet been delivered.

RELATED: Perth Amboy organizes relief efforts for Puerto Rico earthquake victims 
RELATED: NJ native speaks from Puerto Rico as several earthquakes rock island 

“They have increasingly created obstacles to the pathway to unlocking the door for Puerto Rico to get access to the Treasury and to the money,” Menendez says.

Newark resident Maria Menendez-Rivera says that her brother Victor and his family live on the island. The foundation of the family’s home has started to crack, so they are sleeping in a sports complex.

“He’s staying in the Yauco Stadium because he’s scared to be in the house. He’s got three kids,” Menendez-Rivera says.

Sen. Menendez is calling for federal aid to be released right away.

President Donald Trump signed a disaster declaration for Puerto Rico on Thursday. But the administration has imposed restrictions on how the disaster relief can be spent.

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