[lg policy] Santorum stands by English condition for Puerto Rico statehood
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Sat Mar 17 15:21:43 UTC 2012
Santorum stands by English condition for Puerto Rico statehood
CNN Political Unit
(CNN) – Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum on Thursday defended a
condition he said Puerto Rico must meet to be eligible for statehood:
"English needs to be the principal language." Campaigning in the
territory ahead of their Sunday primary, Santorum had on Wednesday
said, "There are other states with more than one language, like
Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English must be the
Speaking to CNN's National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta on
Thursday, he stood by his comments.
"Obviously Spanish will be spoken here on the island. But this needs
to be a bilingual country not just a Spanish speaking country," he
said. "Right now it is overwhelmingly Spanish speaking but it needs to
have in order for it to integrate into American society, English has
to be a language that is spoken here also and spoken universally."
Romney stakes opposition to Santorum over language issue
Puerto Rico designates both English and Spanish as official languages.
There is no federal law stipulating an official language, but 31
states have adopted measures and Congress has included adoption of
English as a requirement for statehood in previous cases.
Voters will be surveyed on their interest in statehood in a November referendum.
Asked by a reporter if the language issue would be a deal breaker,
Santorum said he considers the matter important.
"I think that would be a condition," he said. "I think it's important."
The territory's delegate to Congress, Democrat Pedro Pierluisi, said
on CNN's Starting Point Thursday that, "Santorum's view is narrow and
a limiting view of what America is all about."
"English is the predominant language in the U.S. and will continue to
be so, whether Puerto Rico becomes a state or not," Pierluisi added.
One of Santorum's delegates withdrew his support for Santorum over the
matter, according to a local newspaper report. The Vocero paper
reported that Hector Perez said he was no longer committed to
Santorum. The party chair told the paper that one of the alternate
delegates submitted by Santorum's campaign would fill the spot.
Puerto Rico holds a Republican primary on Sunday to allocate 20 of the
territory's 23 delegates. Delegates will be distributed proportionally
among candidates earning over 15% of the vote unless one candidate
wins over 50%. In that case, he will receive all 20 delegates.
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