PAHRUMP, Nev. – A town board in southern Nevada has adopted an ordinance declaring English the official language, restricting the display of foreign flags and denying town benefits to illegal immigrants.
A 3-2 Town Board vote drew a standing ovation and cheers late Tuesday from many of the 250 people at the meeting.
Town Manager David Richards called the ordinance a statement that "everyone should speak English, and if you are going to move here then you ought to respect the American flag and fly it in prominence."
Lee Rowland, an American Civil Liberties Union staff lawyer from Las Vegas, told the board the ordinance would invite an expensive lawsuit challenging its constitutionally.
"If you pass an ordinance that is blatantly in violation of the First Amendment, this town will be on the hook," Rowland said.
Many said not much will change with the ordinance's adoption.
Town business is already conducted in English and the town has no real "benefits" to take away because public aid is administered by the state or the county, officials said. The flag measure requires an American flag to be displayed at least as prominently as a foreign flag.
Pahrump, with 33,241 residents, is 60 miles west of Las Vegas.