by Jason DeWitt | Top Right News
Leaders in a Maryland County presided over a heated debate during a recent hearing when they considered repealing a popular 2012 ordinance that requires all official business in the county to be conducted in English.
Frederick was Maryland’s first county to implement an English-only ordinance, and it enjoyed wide support of citizens.
But after three years, newly elected Democrat officials say it was a “mistake”.
“It’s a wrong message. You might as well post a sign that says non-English speaking people are not welcome here,” one resident said. “Why are we doing this?”
“It makes us look intolerant, unwelcoming and petty,” said Barbara Gordon.
Two of the five new County Council members are pushing to repeal the measure. Jessica Fitzwater and M.C. Keegan-Ayer say the ordinance is ineffective, sends a message of intolerance and is bad for business. They introduced the bill to repeal the ordinance in June.
“We have a new government and we’re going to set a different tone,” Keegan-Ayer demanded.
“It’s becoming increasingly harder to attract businesses and employers to Frederick County when they have this perception that we’re not welcoming or we’re only welcoming if English is your first language,” Fitzwater said.
But citizens said that is not the case, and that several large corporations, including a defense contractor, have setup large facilities in the county since the English-only ordinance was passed.
The repeal is opposed by groups like ProEnglish who called the councilwomen “liberal multiculturists” and “politically correct bullies” in fundraising letters they mailed out. Many residents agree with the English-only ordinance, reported CBS Baltimore.
The pro-illegal alien amnesty Frederick County Chamber of Commerce said they conducted a survey of its employers and found nearly all of them supported repealing the ordinance, according to a correspondence from the chamber. Some residents accused many of those companies of hiring illegal aliens.
According to 2010 census data, 5.8 percent of the population of Frederick is Asian American and 14.4 percent is Hispanic or Latino. Hispanics are the fastest growing race group in the city and county.
Jorge Ribas, the president and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said, “We all speak English in our chamber. We’re all for English, but I think mono-literacy is the worst thing that can happen to the United States in a global economy.”
Ribas did not explain what a “global economy” had to do with official businesses in a American county.
The council will vote on the proposed repeal in an August 18th meeting. Citizens who oppose the repeal are “urged to attend and make a strong showing,” by ProEnglish.
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