Equity & Diversity

English Should Be Official Language, Santorum Says

By Lesli A. Maxwell — January 04, 2012 1 min read

Rick Santorum, the ultra-conservative former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, made a strong showing in Iowa’s caucuses yesterday, finishing a mere eight votes behind winner Mitt Romney.

He’ll be riding his momentum now to other early primary states such as New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he may have a harder time selling his viability as a nominee who could beat President Obama. Still, given his strong position coming out of Iowa, I wanted to highlight his public statements and his record on issues germane to English-learners and immigrant students.

In some of the GOP debates last fall, Santorum said English should be the national language of the U.S., a stance that got more attention when Republican rivals Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann expressed it.

Santorum—whose father was a first-generation immigrant from Italy—believes all immigrants should learn English. He does not favor bilingual education.

And he roundly opposes the federal DREAM Act legislation that would give undocumented immigrants who have grown up in the U.S. a path to citizenship if they earn a college degree or serve in the military. Likewise, He’s a fierce critic of state-level DREAM acts, like those in Texas and California, where undocumented students who have grown up in the states and graduated from their high schools, are granted in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

The former senator is also a long-time ally of U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, who gained national attention while he was mayor of Hazleton, Penn., for his aggressive, local ordinances to crack down on businesses and employers who hired undocumented immigrants.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.