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ProEnglish on Proposed Puerto Rico Statehood Bid: English Must Be Primary Official Language

By on January 4, 2017

SAN JUAN — ProEnglish, an organization that seeks to persuade lawmakers to adopt English as the official language at all levels of government, said Wednesday that any application for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state must stipulate that English become the primary official language of all public entities.

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (CB photo/Eduardo San Miguel Tió)

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (CB photo)

“Let’s remember that the 2011 recommendations from President Barack Obama’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status says that, if the U.S. commonwealth ever applies for statehood, Congress has ultimate authority over admission and English must play a central role in the daily life of the island,” ProEnglish Executive Director Sam Pimm notes in a statement.

“The commonwealth is predominantly Spanish-speaking,” Pimm continues. “Since another statehood referendum is being pushed by the island’s new pro-statehood governor, ProEnglish urges that these task force recommendations be followed so Puerto Ricans realize that there would be strict English requirements as a condition for admission. At a minimum, we believe a large majority of Puerto Rico residents—who are U.S. citizens—must become fluent in English for statehood to be even considered. After all, English is our common tongue that unites all Americans.”

“By the way, during the last 2012 referendum on the island’s status, a majority did not vote for statehood,” Pimm adds. “And Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s recent remarks that he seeks statehood so mainland U.S. taxpayers can bail out the island from its financial and economic mess is certainly not the best argument for Congress to hear.”

Although English is the primary language used stateside, the United States doesn’t have a national official language.

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