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Frederick County Commissioners Adopt English As Official Language

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WASHINGTON -- A Maryland county about 45 miles northwest of the nation's capital has adopted English as its official language.

In a 4-1 vote on Tuesday night, Frederick County commissioners approved the English-only measure that would bar any foreign language from being used in government documents but would make exceptions in instances where there are public health and safety concerns and for tourism and trade.

The measure also does not obstruct any state or federal mandates that may require the use of a non-English language.

As WTOP reports, 19 people addressed the commissioners on the measure during the meeting, but only two spoke in favor of the English-only plan, which the board president, Blaine Young, said would deter illegal immigration.

The county attorney, John Mathias, told commissioners that the ordinance would not have a major impact on the county's operations, according to the Frederick News-Post.

"I'm really embarrassed that we have to go through this tonight," Nick Carrera, a resident of Urbana, told commissioners, according to the News-Post. "It's a measure that's nasty and small-minded. ... It would brand Frederick County as being unfriendly and xenophobic."

As the Gazette notes, the Frederick County measure was modeled on laws in other states and used information from ProEnglish, a Virginia-based group that advocates that English be used as an official language.