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Rick Santorum Puerto Rico Language

March 28, 2012 by staff 

Rick Santorum Puerto Rico Language, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Wednesday that Puerto Rico should only gain statehood if the territory makes English its main language.

In an interview with a San Juan newspaper, El Vocero, Santorum said English would have to be the “main language” if Puerto Rico were to become a state.

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum attends a town meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday March 14, 2012.

“As in any other state, you have to comply with this and any federal law. And that is that English has to be the main language,” Santorum told the paper. “There are other states with more than one language as is the case in Hawaii, but to be a state in the United States, English has to be the main language.”

There is no federal law designating English as the country’s official language, although some states and local governments have adopted such “English only” laws.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth. Its residents are U.S. citizens but can only vote for president in the primaries, nor do they have a voting representative in Congress. Puerto Ricans will hold a referendum Nov. 6 on the island’s political status. Statehood, independence and no change in status are the three options. Regardless of the outcome, Congress must approve any change in status.

A key sticking point is Puerto Rico’s official language, which is Spanish. Most Puerto Ricans feel strongly about maintaining their culture and language. There is concern that as a condition of statehood or to assert its authority over the island, Congress “could require Puerto Rico to adopt English as the only official language of the island,” according to a report issued last year by the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status. The task force, however, recommended that “the president and Congress “ensure that Puerto Rico controls its own cultural and linguistic identity.”

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