NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 16, 2006

The elected town board of Pahrump, Nevada, recently voted 3-2 to enact an ordinance making it illegal to fly a foreign nation's flag by itself, says USA Today.

According to the town board:

  • Flying another country's flag, whether it is a British Union Jack or the flag of Mexico, is punishable by a $50 fine and 30 hours' community service, unless it is flown below an American flag.
  • The law passed as part of a package of measures that also declared English the official language of Pahrump and denies town benefits to illegal immigrants.

The ordinance's sponsor, Michael Miraglia, a retired Illinois state worker, said the flag restriction was a reaction to nationwide demonstrations in May against a crackdown on illegal immigration.  He said he didn't like seeing protesters waving Mexican flags and demanding immigrants not go to work that day.

And while supporters say the law is mainly a stand on principle and doubts anyone will be arrested for violating it, opposition is expected to be strong.  The American Civil Liberties Union says the flag restriction violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech and Lisa Rasmussen, a board member of the Nevada ACLU said they would probably take legal action against the town.

Source: William M. Welch, "Nev. town to fine for foreign flags," USA Today, November 16, 2006.


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