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The American Civil Liberties Union has asked officials in a Detroit suburb to reject a proposal that would require businesses with foreign language signs to add English translations.
“We write to strongly urge you to abandon the measure as unconstitutional, anti-immigrant and unnecessary,” the ACLU wrote to the city Thursday in a letter that was also signed by officials with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Michigan and Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development Inc.
In May, Sterling Heights, Mich., Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko asked the city’s attorney to prepare an ordinance requiring businesses with foreign language signs to have identifiers such as “bakery” included, the Detroit News reports.
Fire Chief John Childs supported the move, arguing that people passing by the site of a fire or other emergency could inform dispatchers about the location more easily if they could read the signs.
He maintained that the issue has nothing to do with race.
According to the News, Michael J. Steinberg of the ACLU said the proposal is unconstitutional “because it singles out businesses with signs.”
(Posted on July 17, 2006)