ProEnglish Executive Director, Sam Pimm weighs in on Puerto Rican Statehood:
“New Gov. Ricardo Rossello has announced that he and his New Progressive Party are again pushing for admission of Puerto Rico to be the 51 st state of the United States.
The governor declared there will be a May 28 plebiscite on the island giving voters a choice between statehood and independence. Incredibly, staying in the current
commonwealth relationship with the United States is not an option that will be listed.
Leaving out that viable option rigs the election!
Additionally, H.R. 260 has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives— a statehood admissions bill. But it should be underscored that, during the last 2012 referendum on the island’s status, a majority did not vote for statehood. Retaining U.S. commonwealth status garnered a significant vote. Those voters desiring independence came in a very distant third place.
Also, Governor Rossello’s 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.
Let’s also remember that the 2011 recommendations from President Barack Obama’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status rightly recognizes that, if the commonwealth ever applies to be the 51 st state, Congress has ultimate authority over admission and English must play a central role in the daily life of the island.
The island is predominantly Spanish-speaking. So ProEnglish will vigorously lobby to give these task force recommendations substance so that Puerto Ricans realize that there would be strict English requirements as a condition for statehood. At a minimum, a large majority of Puerto Rico residents— who are U.S. citizens— must become fluent in
English for statehood to be even considered. In this context, Congress must mandate that any new state must adopt English as its official language of government, which would also include the courts and schools. After all, English is our common tongue that unites all Americans”