Nashville Mayor Vetoes Measure Making English Official Language

Nashville, (AP) -- Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell today vetoed a proposed ordinance making English the official language of the city.

Purcell stood with Metro Council members, some staff lawyers and some city council opponents and said "no one in this room knows for sure what it does."

What Councilman Eric Crafton had introduced as an English-only measure was weakened when it was pointed out some federal rules require multilingual communications. It would have also allowed other languages to be used in matters of public health, safety or welfare.

People on both sides of the debate agreed the measure was a largely symbolic slap at illegal immigration that had no significant effect.

Purcell said his legal staff advised the proposal would violate both the US and Tennessee Constitutions and would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend in court.

More than 600,000 Kurds live in Nashville it the city has been a resettlement site for refugees from Africa and Southeast Asia. The Hispanic immigrant population also has boomed, and researchers say Nashville's foreign-born population has grown 350 percent since 1990.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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