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Consumer Reports

Central Wis. county votes English-only | (UPI) -- GREEN BAY, Wis. Immigrant groups Thursday asked a county chief executive to veto a resolution adopted by the Brown County Board of Supervisors affirming English as the official language for county government despite growing immigration of non-English speakers.

A modified version of the resolution passed 16-9 Wednesday night but was opposed by County Executive Nancy Nusbaum, who said she would not sign it and would consider exercising her first veto. Previous versions of the resolution called for making English the official language of county government.

Brown County has a growing population of Asian and other immigrants including many who speak little or no English.

"It changes nothing about the way we operate but it does send a message and that message is painful," Nusbaum said.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the resolution was intended only to cover official government documents like birth certificates or ballots but the measure that passed does not specify that and opponents accused the all-white supervisors of racism.

Supporters said the resolution would save money by not requiring public documents to be printed in many languages. Federal and state laws require use of other languages in emergencies involving health or law enforcement and the resolution urged government to fund English classes for immigrants.

"I think it will hurt people more than help," Nhiacha Yang, president of the Hmong Community Center in Green Bay told the newspaper.

Brown County is the fourth Wisconsin county to pass an English-only resolution this year and about one-third of the state's 72 counties have enacted similar resolutions.

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