Nevada Town Repeals English-Only Law After Months of Non-Enforcement

The board of this growing desert town has struck down a law that made English the official language and barred residents from flying a foreign flag by itself.

The ordinance, which briefly put this community 60 miles from Las Vegas in the middle of the national immigration debate, was enacted in November but never enforced. The Pahrump Town Board repealed it Tuesday.

"I think it's clear that the main purpose and effect of this bill was to spread fear throughout the community, particularly the immigrant community of Pahrump," said Lee Rowland, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which said the measure was unconstitutional.

The five-person board includes four members who took office this year. The law's chief backer, retired government worker Michael Miraglia, was among those who left office.

Miraglia said Wednesday he would continue to advocate for similar immigration measures, and that he hoped his English-language ordinance would become a statewide ballot measure.

"Somebody out there must be able to stand up for Americans," he said.

Board member Laurayne Murray said Tuesday she hoped the ordinance's repeal will allow the community and the board to focus on other matters.

"We have way more urgent business to address in this community," she said. "We are going to create our reputation in the world in a more positive way."