Immigrant Community Calls on Council to Repeal Frederick County’s English-Only Ordinance
Law Hurts County’s Economy and Community.
Frederick, MD- CASA, Maryland’s largest immigrant rights organization, applauds Councilmember Jessica Fitzwater and Council Vice-President M.C. Keegan-Ayer for introducing Bill 15-08, to repeal Frederick County’s Official English Ordinance passed in 2012, and urges the County Council to move swift passage.
Frederick County’s ordinance, adopted in 2012, has served more as a statement about culture rather that substantive rights. National and state laws mandate the provision of interpretation services and translated vital documents for any service funded even partially by federal or state dollars. Police, housing, health – it is almost impossible to imagine any function of county government that doesn’t rely in part or whole on federal or state funds.
Proponents of English-Only in Frederick County frequently argue that a unified culture demands a single language. We believe that a truly great culture, the culture Frederick County is working so hard to build, centers on honoring diversity. And just like German immigrants who came here at the turn of the last century were respected in their linguistic diversity, today’s immigrants from Korea and Honduras should also be celebrated. New immigrants fill each available English class slot available to them across the County and Maryland.
Immigrants, more than anyone else, recognize the need to learn English for economic advancement. They don’t need the assistance of county government encouraging them to speak English. And because the ordinance means little given the state and federal protections, it is hard for immigrants, including immigrant-owned businesses, to take any message from it other than their tax dollars and investments are not welcome in Frederick County.
This Tuesday July 21st, Coalition members and Frederick residents directly impacted by the policy will testify during a County Council public hearing to discuss the repeal bill.
CASA invites the community to come out and meet the new Frederick County.