U.S.English Chairman Criticizes Ben Carson’s Stance on Puerto Rico Statehood

Washington, DC—U.S.English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today criticized Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson for endorsing statehood for Puerto Rico.

At a recent political convention, Carson stated that he ‘would be incredibly honored and delighted’ to support Puerto Rico statehood, noting that geographically, the commonwealth is ‘very strategically located’ and suggesting that given the threat of terrorism, statehood would mean added ‘unity’ for the United States.

Upon hearing Dr. Carson’s remarks, Chairman Mujica issued the following statement:

“Contrary to Dr. Carson’s suggestion, declaring Puerto Rico the 51st state in the United States would be detrimental to our sense of national unity. An overwhelming majority of residents of Puerto Rico speak Spanish and nearly 85 percent of residents are limited English proficient, meaning they would struggle to carry on a basic conversation in English. Without a common means of communication, a nation cannot prosper and residents remain separated by linguistic divisions.

Furthermore, Puerto Rico faces $72 billion in debt and a poverty rate of nearly 50 percent. Rather than taking on the added burden of a non-English speaking state, Dr. Carson would be well to encourage the United States to adopt a national language policy with English at its core as our common, shared language. When armed with a firm grasp of English, the language of global commerce, residents of the United States are placed on the path to success. On this path, residents will be more likely to secure a better, higher paying job that will contribute to a stronger economy.

Puerto Ricans have voted several times on the issue of Statehood. At least half of the population has never wanted to become a state of the United States. Right now, they have the best deal: they are American citizens, and they have their own independent country. I urge Dr. Carson—and all potential presidential nominees—to support a stronger United States economy by way of recognizing the unifying power of English as the official language.”


U.S. English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S. English, Inc. ( www.usenglish.org ) now has more than 2 million members.