In this article, the author defines Puerto Rico as a nation, an imagined community with its own territory, history, language, and culture. Nevertheless, the Island lacks a sovereign state, an independent government that represents the population of that territory. This unsovereign state has long sponsored population displacements from Puerto Rico to the United States. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, colonial officials embraced migration as a safety valve for the Island’s overpopulation. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Commonwealth government spurred the "Great Migration" to the U.S. mainland. The Farm Labor Program, overseen by the Migration Division of Puerto Rico’s Department of Labor, illustrates the complicated negotiations required by a transnational colonial state.
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