March 10, 2010
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Phil Kent (404) 226-3549
ProEnglish praises new study on ‘stealth Puerto Rico statehood bill’
ARLINGTON, Va — “A new study by the Lexington Institute outlines the disastrous impact of U.S. House of Representatives legislation empowering Puerto Ricans to vote on their political status. This wide-ranging research ought to be studied by every House member who will soon vote on this bill,” says K.C. McAlpin, executive director of ProEnglish.
“Lexington Institute researcher Don Soifer finds the wording of H.R. 2499 is rigged to produce a majority vote in favor of statehood— while trampling on the wishes of Puerto Ricans who want to maintain the current U.S. commonwealth status or prefer full independence. Incredibly, an additional requirement allows eligible U.S. voters to cast their votes simultaneously in their state of residence and in the island’s plebiscite by absentee vote,” McAlpin says.
‘Reconciling language policies between Puerto Rico, which recognizes both English and Spanish as official languages, and the United States would raise a host of policy concerns,” the Lexington Institute concludes. “For the United States, which has no official language designation currently, movement toward a Canadian system of official bilingualism seems a likely policy direction given the present circumstances.” The Institute also reports that as of June 30, 2008 Puerto Rico posted a $52.9 billion total outstanding public debt. The companies Moodys and Standard and Poor’s rate the Spanish-speaking island as one step above non-investment grade.
“The pro-statehood party openly plans to use a victory in the second round of balloting to send its chosen ‘senators’ and ‘representatives’ to Capitol Hill to force its wishes on Congress— hoping the resulting publicity and political pressure would get them seated. It is similar to the strategy that Tennessee used to become a state in 1796,” McAlpin warns.
An attempt by U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., to amend H.R. 2499 in committee stipulating that any new state mandate English as its official language of government operations was defeated on a 13-to-24 vote along partisan lines with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. “This is a stunning and unacceptable attack on English as the common tongue that unites Americans — especially when polls reveal that 9 out of 10 of Americans want English to be the official language of government operations and 30 states have adopted laws to that effect.” McAlpin says.
“H.R. 2499 could be scheduled for a full House of Representatives vote at any time,” McAlpin notes, “and the Democratic leadership won’t allow amendments like the one Broun offered.”