Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is under immense scrutiny after publicly insisting that Puerto Rico should only earn statehood if they made English their main language. Santorum expressed to the San Juan publication El Vocero this week, “As in any other state, you have to comply with this and any federal law. And that is that English has to be the main language.” He adds, “There are other states with more than one language as is the case in Hawaii, but to be a state in the United States, English has to be the main language.”
Why is Santorum’s comment useless rhetoric? According to a 2009 Pew Study, out of approximately 4 million Puerto Ricans in the island, 81% speak English proficiently. In fact, Puerto Ricans are offered a bilingual education from Kindergarten up until high school. Their government and politics classes are even taught entirely in English. The irony about Santorum's 'need-to-know-English' comment is that it reveals how little he does know about the U.S. commonwealth.
Santorum’s shocking comments target Puerto Ricans, but it also makes a huge impact on how Latino voters view the presidential hopeful. That opinion can ultimately hurt the former Pennsylvania senator’s chances during the GOP primary.
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