Lawmaker Wants English To Be Official Language Of Anne Arundel County

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — English may soon be the official language in Anne Arundel County. The controversial legislation was proposed Monday night.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the impact it could have.

Supporters say this is a way to send a message to illegal immigrants living in the county. Those opposed say it’s just discrimination.

Anne Arundel County, halfway between Baltimore and Washington D.C., is home to the state’s capital. County Councilman Jerry Walker says it’s also home to many illegal immigrants.

“When folks come here illegally, they come and they draw down on our resources that taxpayers and citizens provide for them,” Walker said.

Now he’s proposed a bill to make English the official language of the county, a move he hopes will send a message.

“We need to make sure that we send this message loud and clear, that Anne Arundel County is not a safe haven,” Walker said.

Those opposed to the bill say it may not have much of an impact here in the county.

“What does it actually do? I think that’s a big question mark because most critical services are superseded by state or federal law,” said Elizabeth Alex.

Alex, who’s with Casa de Maryland, says the county won’t see huge changes. Translators will still be available at the county health department, the police department and the fire department.

“What would this do? I’m not sure, other than send a negative message to immigrant communities around the state that we don’t want you here. You are not welcome,” Alex said.

Walker admits he’s unsure what the impact will be, but says his message is clear.

“We are not a sanctuary city or county. We are a county that opposes illegal immigration,” Walker said.

Walker says this is a first in a series of bills he plans to introduce to combat illegal immigration.

A similar ordinance passed in Taneytown in 2006. Frederick County is also considering a bill to make English the official language.

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