Broad Coalition Urges English for Puerto Rican Statehood

ProEnglish and Broad Coalition Urge U.S. Congress to Require English for Puerto Rican Statehood

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 1, 2012                                     CONTACT:  Phil Kent,  (404) 226-3549 or


(Arlington, VA)—ProEnglish, the nation’s leading advocate of making English the official language of government in the U.S., sent a coalition letter to both the Senate and House Leadership this week urging them to include specific English language requirements in any legislation to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st State. Twenty-one signatories join ProEnglish on the letter, including the principles of several influential national grassroots organizations, former Congressmen, and Tea Party leaders.

The letter was delivered just one week ahead of the island’s November 6th referendum on statehood. Puerto Rican voters will decide whether they want to remain a commonwealth, become independent, renegotiate its current status with the U.S., or become the 51stU.S. State.

“The ultimate goal of ProEnglish and the allied groups represented on this coalition letter is to preserve the historic role of English as the unifying language of the United States,” said ProEnglish Executive Director Robert Vandervoort. “Although English and Spanish are dual official languages on the island, the de facto language of government and the schools is Spanish-only. The U.S. Congress must address the clear language discrepancy between the Puerto Rican government and the other 50 state governments.”

“We know from the enormous costs and frequent cultural conflicts that it imposes on countries like Canada and Belgium that official bilingualism would add to our budget deficit and be extremely divisive,” said Vandervoort. “Recent studies estimate that federal language translations for Puerto Rico would cost American taxpayers $26 billion a year.”

“Puerto Rican voters may very well reject statehood for the fourth time in their history next week, but in the event that they do not, we want to be sure that Congress understands that there is precedent for requiring territories to adopt English language policies. Nearly 9 out of 10 Americans want the U.S. government to unite under one official language – English.”