An English-speaking mandate from an anti-mandate candidate

SUGGESTING THAT people in American states would be better off knowing English makes eminent good sense; generations of immigrants have followed that advice with impressive results. But to declare, as Rick Santorum did last week, that Puerto Rico must adopt English as its dominant language as a condition for statehood, is an act of surpassing arrogance.

Puerto Ricans have been US citizens since 1917, but have chosen to operate as a quasi-independent commonwealth. The question of statehood pops up regularly, and Puerto Ricans have repeatedly voted it down. But another referendum is scheduled for later this year, which could prompt a reconsideration of the statehood issue - or not. Many Puerto Ricans fear that the island’s unique character and history would be diminished.

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