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In Florida, Puerto Ricans want equality back home

By By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ

MIAMI (AP) — A record number of Puerto Ricans are leaving the island and the majority are going to Florida.

Most are fleeing Puerto Rico's economic crisis, yet their presence on the mainland is drawing newfound attention to the age-old question of whether Puerto Rico should become the 51st state.

A loose coalition of leaders is seeking to leverage Florida's growing Puerto Rican presence into something the rest of Americans can easily understand: a fight for equality and the right to vote. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth, but because the island is only a territory, its residents can't vote for the U.S. president.

Equal rights advocates are counting on Florida's influence in presidential elections to amplify their message.

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