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Congress, White House Favor English for Puerto Rico Statehood; but Santorum is Demonized

Posted by FactReal on March 18, 2012

OFFICIAL ENGLISH REQUIREMENT FOR PUERTO RICO
Just like Rick Santorum, Congress and the White House have brainstormed about the English language requirement for Puerto Rico if the island becomes the 51st State.

A 2011 Congressional report (CRS) shows how Congress and Administrations have favored official English language requirement for Puerto Rico if voters there chose statehood. Interestingly, the report uses these expressions: “federal official language requirements would apply to Puerto Rico,” “there is precedent for a language requirement,” “official English language requirements would have applied in Puerto Rico,” etc.

Here are some highlights of the CRS report pertaining to the language requirement for statehood:

OBAMA & BUSH ADMINISTRATION
President 2011 Task Force Report on Puerto Rico’s Status
(Released by President Obama in March 2011)
(CRS, page 23)

In March 2011, the Obama Administration task force issued its first report…On status specifically, the task force recommended the following.

If Puerto Rico were admitted as a state, the task force found that English would need to play “a central role in the daily life of the Island.”

Source: PDF from Obama’s White House

President 20007 Task Force Report on Puerto Rico’s Status
(Released by President Bush in December 2007)

The provisions of the Federal law on the use of the English language in the agencies and courts of the Federal Government in the fifty states of the Union shall apply equally in the State of Puerto Rico, as at present states.”
Source: http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/documents/2007-report-by-the-president-task-forceon-puerto-rico-status.pdf
or at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/documents/2007-report-by-the-president-task-force-on-puerto-rico-status.pdf

BILLS IN CONGRESS
Bill H.R. 2499 in 111th Congress (2009-2010)
(CRS, page 5)

On April 29, 2010, the House approved an amended version of H.R. 2499, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010, by a final vote of 223-169…. The Puerto Rico State Elections Commission would have also, according to an amendment adopted on the floor of the House, notified voters that under continuation of the current status or statehood, federal “official language requirements” would apply to Puerto Rico and throughout the United States. The Commission also would be required to notify voters that it is the sense of Congress that the teaching of English be promoted in public schools in Puerto Rico.
[Source: Rep. Dan Burton, “Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010,” House Debate, Congressional Record, vol. 156 (April 29, 2010), p. H3045.] [HR 2499]

Bill H.R. 856 in 105th Congress (1997-1998)
(CRS, pages 32, 42, 55)

During the 1998 House debate on H.R. 856, an amendment was adopted that would have established an English language education requirement if Puerto Rico were admitted as a state.
[Source: Remarks in the House, Congressional Record, daily edition, vol. 144, March 4, 1998, pp. H802-H812. An amendment designating Spanish as the official language of Puerto Rico was rejected during the same debate.] [HR 856]

There is precedent for a language requirement to be attached to a statehood proposal. The admission of three states—Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona—was contingent upon such a requirement.
[Source: Joseph E. Fallon, “Federal Policy and U.S. Territories: The Political Restructuring of the United States of America,” Pacific Affairs, vol. 64, spring 1991, p. 34.]

Similar provision to H.R. 3024, with official English language requirement specified. […] Stated as policy that students in schools should achieve English proficiency by age 10. Under statehood, official English language requirements would have applied in Puerto Rico as in all states. Transition plan to statehood would have had to include promotion of English.

H.R. 856, as approved by the House, included an English language provision, along with the expectation (“it is anticipated”) that English would be the “official language of the federal government in Puerto Rico” to the extent required by law throughout the United States.

Bill H.R. 3024 in 104th Congress (1995-1996)
(CRS, page 42)

Provision for: guaranteed constitutional rights, permanent union, reserved powers, responsibility for payment of taxes, national representation and voting rights, and application of language requirement similar to that applied in other states. […] Under statehood, would have followed the language requirements “as in the several states.” [HR 3024]

Bill S. 712 in 101st Congress (1989-1990)
(CRS, page 47)

The statehood provision of S. 712 (Title II) included a self-executing provision; recognized the constitution adopted in 1952 as the constitution (future) of the state; retained existing federal land holdings (with future conveyances allowed); recognized both Spanish and English as official languages (with government proceedings conducted in English); and provided for the election of presidential electors and congressional representatives, as well as the establishment of a commission to identify U.S. laws not applicable to Puerto Rico, among other provisions. […]

Issues of Debate on S. 712. The debate on S. 712 resulted in the discussion of many facets of the status debate. Hearings were held by three committees to obtain public comments, the viewpoints of Administration officials, and statements from political leaders in Puerto Rico.

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the primary committee of jurisdiction, held eight days of hearings on S. 712.129 During these hearings, Senators and witnesses discussed a range of issues raised by the status debate, including the following: the referendum process (including campaign financing, voting rights of mainland Puerto Ricans, and ballot components); continuation of citizenship rights; language requirements; constitutional provisions; international relations; trade; transition requirements (including modifying standing tax benefits and continued federal aid); transfer of historic and other property; financial and economic development matters; judiciary concerns (including official language for court proceedings, appointment of judges, and jurisdiction); fisheries and mineral rights; national defense and security; and other matters.

CONGRESSIONAL REPORT
Transition Period

(CRS, page 33)

If the political status of Puerto Rico changes, Congress might elect to establish a transition period during which certain elements are phased into place. Policy matters previously included in such transition periods include, for statehood: gradual modification of tax liability, language requirements, impact of representation on Congress, and others. If Puerto Rico gains independence, Congress might elect to consider a period of time in which federal financial assistance is provided, and strategic defense agreements are reached, among other matters.

U.S. CONSTITUTION
Congress has wide jurisdiction over U.S. territory (e.g. Puerto Rico)
(CRS, page 12)

Puerto Rico, although styled a “commonwealth,” is a territory of the United States and is subject to Congress under the Territorial Clause of the U. S. Constitution.

“The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”
[Source: U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 3, cl. 2.]

RELATED
Video: Rick Santorum’s Puerto Rico Interview – Did He Say English is a Requirement?
Romney Supported English as Official Language (2012 Video)

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Romney Supported English as Official Language (2012 Video)

Posted by FactReal on March 17, 2012

Video: “In the January 23, 2012 NBC News GOP Presidential Debate, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich all vocalized their support for Official English.”
Video of full debate here. (Go to mark 54:06)
RELATED
Video: Rick Santorum’s Puerto Rico Interview – Did He Say English is a Requirement?
Congress, White House Favor English for Puerto Rico Statehood; but Santorum is Demonized

Posted in Elections, Right | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Video: Rick Santorum’s Puerto Rico Interview – Did He Say English is a Requirement?

Posted by FactReal on March 17, 2012

Did Santorum say that Puerto Rico must make English its official language before it could become the 51st state? We know Congress and several Administrations have favored English for Puerto Rico’s statehood. In January 2012, Romney said he supported English as official language for the United States. But Santorum is being demonized and mocked.

Watch the videos where Santorum explains his position:

Rick Santorum Interview with the Newspaper El Vocero in Puerto Rico
(March 14 2012)

Other video source: here.
Santorum’s Interview with Newspaper El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico
PRECEDENT: ENGLISH REQUIREMENT FOR STATEHOOD
The Blaze made this interesting point: (Caveat: Wikipedia links)

“Although (there is) no federal law requiring English the official language, when Louisiana was brought into the country, the government said you need to adopt English as your official language.”

…[T]he Louisiana Enabling Act, which says that “the laws which such state may pass shall be promulgated and its records of every description shall be preserved, and its judicial and legislative written proceedings conducted in the language in which the laws and the judicial and legislative written proceedings of the United States are now published and conducted.”

[A] similar act passed prior to Oklahoma’s achievement of statehood, which required public schools with classes taught in English…

SOME U.S. STATES HAVE LAWS DECLARING ENGLISH THEIR OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
E.g.: English is the official language of Florida
Source: The Florida Constitution (ARTICLE II, SECTION 9):

(a) English is the official language of the State of Florida.
(b) The legislature shall have the power to enforce this section by appropriate legislation.
History.—Proposed by Initiative Petition filed with the Secretary of State August 8, 1988; adopted 1988.”

ENGLISH & SPANISH ARE THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF PUERTO RICO
The NY Times reported in 1993:

Puerto Rico Elevates English

Published: January 29, 1993

Gov. Pedro Rossello today signed into law a bill that gives English equal status with Spanish as an official language of this American territory. “Now we have two hymns, two flags, two languages,” Mr. Rossello, a statehood advocate, declared to hundreds of cheering supporters at a signing ceremony in this western San Juan suburb. He dismissed as “a rhetorical storm” the arguments of critics who had sought to safeguard Spanish’s 21-month-old status as the island’s sole official language.

RELATED
Congress, White House Favor English for Puerto Rico Statehood; but Santorum is Demonized
Romney Supported English as Official Language (2012 Video)

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