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Judicial Watch • Town Threatened Over “Anti-Immigrant” English Only Law

Town Threatened Over “Anti-Immigrant” English Only Law

Town Threatened Over “Anti-Immigrant” English Only Law

APRIL 23, 2010

In the latest move to protect illegal immigrants who speak only Spanish, a rural New York town will be sued by a taxpayer-subsidized civil rights group if it doesn’t rescind a new law requiring that all official government business be conducted in English.

The “misguided ordinance” is unconstitutional and a symptom of “anti-immigrant hostility that was swept the country in recent years,” according to the famously liberal group (American Civil Liberties Union) threatening the legal action. It also discriminates against those with limited English skills and prohibits a vast array of constitutionally protected speech.

More importantly, the new law violates a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits municipal governments from discriminating against non English-speaking people, according a threat delivered by the ACLU to Jackson New York officials this week. The group asserts that the new rule will exclude non English speakers from accessing vital services such as government-funded health services or police protection.

The town is located east of Saratoga Springs and has about 2,000 residents. Last month the Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to pass the English only law, which the ACLU claims is not enforceable and unconstitutional at both the state and federal level. If it is not immediately rescinded, the Justice Department will be contacted about the Civil Rights Act violations, the ACLU threat says.

Three states which have enacted similar ordinances have been legally challenged for violating “constitutionally protected speech rights,” the group points out. Besides, the ACLU assures, “The English language is not under attack in Jackson or anywhere else in the state or country.”

Municipalities nationwide have been sued in recent years for enacting legislation seen as hostile towards illegal immigrants. Cities and towns have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend their measures in court and some have rescinded them because they can’t afford ongoing legal battles to defend them.

 


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