Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum mistakenly asserted Wednesday that Puerto Rico cannot achieve statehood unless English is the island's principal language.

Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law, he told El Vocero newspaper, according to Reuters. And that is that English has to be the principal language. There are other states with more than one language, such as Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English has to be the principal language.

In fact, the United States does not have an official language and there is no federal legislation suggesting such a requirement for statehood.

Santorum visited Puerto Rico in the hopes of gaining delegates from the island's primary election on Sunday. Though the self-governing U.S. commonwealth can vote in primary contests and has convention delegates, it does not have a say in the general presidential election.

Instead, residents will be voting on something else come November: a referendum on whether Puerto Rico will pursue statehood. Should they vote in favor, the measure would be sent to Congress for approval.

Romney told El Vocero he supports Puerto Rico's right to decide on its own future. We need to work together and determine what type of relationship we want to develop, he said.

Santorum is fresh off a successful campaign circuit in the American South, where he won both Mississippi and Alabama by appealing to social conservatives. He is fighting to push Newt Gingrich out of the race and focus his efforts on defeating current frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Reuters reports that Romney will visit Puerto Rico on Friday; he won the endorsement of Gov. Luis G. Fortuño in January. Gingrich will send his daughter Kathy Gingrich Lubbers, who is fluent in Spanish, to hold town hall meetings on his behalf.