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English-Only Defeat Tied to Economic Crisis

Univision Online, News Analysis, Posted: Jan 28, 2009

DENVER -- The recent defeat of an English-only measure in Nashville, Tenn. and the possibility that Iowa could reverse its own English-only law, could indicate a shift in the anti-immigration strategy, Univision reports. Experts say the weakened economy has contributed to the political shift, in which financial necessity has forced voters to choose business -- whether in English or Spanish -- over their political beliefs. Although he denied that the defeat of the English-only policy in Nashville constituted a trend, Fidel "Butch" Montoya, founder of the Latino faith initiative H.S. Power and Light, and former vice-mayor and security chief in Denver, noted the power of economic necessity. "I'm sure that not everyone who opposed 'English only' put aside their discriminatory attitudes, but economic gain motivates them because they know that discrimination is not good for business."

Stan Perea, a multicultural education consultant for two school districts north of Denver, attributed the defeat of "English only" to the worsening economy. "Suddenly people realize that money from Mexicans is good money so now they want to be nice to the same people they used to discriminate against," he told Univision. "Due to the fear of going bankrupt, the country will accept immigrants, even if they only speak Spanish, if that helps the economic recovery."

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