FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Phil Kent (404) 226-3549
WASHINGTON– ProEnglish, the nation’s leading advocate for preserving English as the nation’s common language, says Sunday’s non-binding Puerto Rico referendum was rigged by Gov. Ricardo Rosello to indicate pro-statehood sentiment— even though less than one-in-four voters participated. “Besides,” says ProEnglish Chairman Dr. Rosalie P. Porter, “any legislative attempt by the island commonwealth to become the 51st state must stipulate that English become its primary official language of the government, courts and school system. The island is predominantly Spanish-speaking.”
“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,” Porter says.
The Popular Democratic Party— which prefers the island’s current status–fostered a successful voter boycott. “The referendum was rigged to support statehood because Rosello’s party initially sought to exclude the territorial option from the ballot.” Porter also urges that the 2011 task force recommendations be followed so that Puerto Ricans realize there would be strict English requirements as a condition for admission. “At a minimum, we believe a large majority must become fluent in English for statehood to be even considered.”
Porter warns that Rossello “will now push his own admission scheme– a Tennessee-style strategy to force Congress into statehood admission.” This refers to Tennessee’s territorial governor— after convening a constitutional convention wherein delegates “converted” the territory into a state— applied for admission by sending “elected” senators and representatives to stand in the hallways of Congress demanding their seats. “Congress caved and admitted Tennessee. This must not be allowed to happen regarding Puerto Rico,” she says.