Puerto Rico has already seen 19 homicides so far this year, continuing a so-called "sense of impunity and lawlessness" that Resident Commissioner Jennifer González-Colón wants to end.
In a Wednesday letter to Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, González-Colón detailed a longstanding history of "drug-related murders" in the U.S territory. As the island's only non-voting House representative, she is asking for increased "technical assistance and law enforcement resources" to curb the problem, she said in the letter.
Puerto Rico's murder rate of "20.3 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants" is higher "than any U.S. state," González-Colón said. This year has already seen a "series of gun shootings" that "erupted in broad daylight" earlier this week, "highlighting the rising tide of violent crime in the territory," she wrote. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Roselló increased police presence after the shootings, CBS News says.
González-Colón went on to ask Whitaker and Nielsen for a breakdown of their departments' resources devoted to Puerto Rico. She also invited the department heads to Puerto Rico "to ensure the federal government is successful in securing our nation's Caribbean border." The letter comes just hours after the FBI's top official in Puerto Rico declared a "crisis of violence" in the territory, per CBS News.
Read all of González-Colón's letter below. Kathryn Krawczyk