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Monterey Park Calls for English as Official Language

Times Staff Writer

The Monterey Park City Council has adopted a resolution that, among other things, urges Congress to adopt English as the nation’s official language.

The resolution also calls on Congress to toughen immigration laws, remove illegal aliens and denounces the sanctuary movement.

Councilman Barry L. Hatch introduced the resolution, which was passed 3 to 1, with one abstention, at the end of the council meeting at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Hatch, a 49-year-old teacher who was elected in April, was one of the sponsors of an initiative drive last year to declare English the official language of the San Gabriel Valley city. The proposal never reached voters because of a legal defect. It was denounced by opponents as a racist response to the legal immigration of Asians, who now make up 40% of the 58,000 citizens.

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Hatch said that he could have revived the initiative, but decided instead to include a call for congressional legislation on grounds that the English language matter is a national issue.

Mayor G. Monty Manibog said he voted against the resolution because its English language provision might “create fear, insecurity and uncertainty” among immigrants who speak other languages.

Michael Eng, an attorney who was one of the leaders of the anti-initiative group last year, described the resolution as “another insensitivity directed against immigrants.”

“I was not aware of any immigration problem. . . . So far as I know, nobody has attempted to make Monterey Park a sanctuary,” the attorney said. “And I would prefer that the city council deal with real issues.”

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Hatch said illegal immigrants burden taxpayers by occupying a high percentage of tax-subsidized apartments, crowding public schools and using tax-supported medical services.


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