Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Georgia Worse Than Nashville When It Comes to English Only

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 6:24 AM

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I beamed with pride as I read this piece in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which holds Nashville up as a beacon of light in the dark night of anti-immigrant sentiment, thanks to our defeat of Eric Crafton's mean-spirited English Only bill. Apparently the Georgia state senate recently passed Senate Bill 67, which requires that driver's license exams only be offered in English. The bill is just the latest manifestation of anti-immigrant sentiment in Georgia's state legislature. The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, passed in 2006, led to an international incident in which a Canadian citizen pulled over for minor traffic violations was strip-searched and deloused, then forced to don prisoner clothing while she awaited verification of her legal status. (After the incident, the Canadian government considered issuing a travel advisory for Georgia.) That bill, which became known as the beginning of Georgia's "Jose Crow" laws, was crafted by state Sen. Chip Rogers, who, according to the Journal-Constitution story, worked closely with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-immigrant statements. The story's author is Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. Of our hometown, Gonzales writes:
In January 2009, the city of Nashville voted against an English-only referendum because it would send the wrong message about Nashville's hospitality. Obviously, Nashville's elected officials and community leaders wanted to ensure they remain competitive for foreign investment.
And the part that will warm the cockles of 57 percent of Nashville voters' hearts (and give Eric Crafton fits):
It is shameful and it is a great disappointment our political leadership hasn't recognized the wisdom Nashville demonstrated. Georgia hypocrisy is always on my mind.
Perhaps the buckle of the Bible Belt is a little more progressive than we give it credit for.

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