Language Politics Play Into GOP Primary Race in Puerto Rico

By Lesli A. Maxwell — March 19, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Mitt Romney routed Rick Santorum in the Puerto Rico primary yesterday, and analysts agree that Santorum basically dug his own grave late last week when he told various media outlets that English would have to become the “main language” as a condition of statehood for the U.S. territory.

In one interview in particular, Santorum mistakenly insisted that to become the 51st state, Puerto Rico would have to comply with federal law by requiring English to be its first language.

Of course, there is no federal law making English the official or “first” language of the United States.

Romney’s overwhelming win in Puerto Rico—where he picked up 20 delegates—probably has more to do with his strong support for statehood than with Santorum’s stance on language. His actual stance on language may not be that far removed from Santorum’s. Romney takes a good deal of credit for helping get rid of bilingual education in Massachusetts and bringing the English-immersion movement to the state when he was governor.

Related Tags:

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