Puerto Rico is often left out of conversations on migration and transnationalism within the Latino context. Sponsored Migration: The State and Puerto Rican Postwar Migration to the United States by Edgardo Meléndez seeks to rectify this oversight, serving as a comprehensive study of the factors affecting Puerto Rican migration to the United States from the late 1940s to the 1960s. Examining the consequences of the perceived problem of Puerto Rican overpopulation as well as the cost of U.S. imperialism on the lives of Puerto Rican workers, Meléndez scrutinizes Puerto Rican migration in the postwar period as a microcosm of the political history of migration throughout Latin America.
Sponsored Migration places Puerto Rico’s migration policy in its historical context, examining the central role the Puerto Rican government played in encouraging and organizing migration during the postwar period. Meléndez sheds an important new light on the many ways in which the government intervened in the movement of its people: attempting to provide labor to U.S. agriculture, incorporating migrants into places like New York City, seeking to expand the island’s air transportation infrastructure, and even promoting migration in the public school system. One of the first scholars to explore this topic in depth, Meléndez illuminates how migration influenced U.S. and Puerto Rican relations from 1898 onward.