Commissioners deadlocked over immigration resolution
The Pitkin County commissioners remain deadlocked about what to do with a controversial resolution on immigration and population growth that they passed last April.
County Commissioner Leslie Lamont was unable to muster support for her motion to reverse the April vote, which calls on the federal government to sharply curb both legal and illegal immigration. Her official motion to rescind “A Resolution of the Board of County Commissioners Supporting Population Stabilization” deadlocked 2-2.
Lamont told her fellow commissioners that she had become convinced that the resolution was faulty. “This resolution does not speak for me as a county commissioner on these issues,” she said.
“I think there has been a significant group of citizens of our valley who have come under additional fear. It’s a legitimate fear – what is Pitkin County going to do to me?”
Lamont feels the board was hasty in its adoption of the resolution, which was written by anti-immigration activists and showed up on the commissioners’ agenda in April. She’s also fearful that immigration opponents are using the resolution to pressure other county governments and regional boards to adopt similar resolutions.
The resolution begins with a recital of facts, including:
n The U.S. population had reached 275 million last year, growing at a pace of three million a year.
n The U.S. has about 5 percent of the world’s population but consumes about 25 percent of its resources.
n Fifty percent of the nation’s wetlands have been drained for development, 95 percent of old growth forests have been cut, and underground aquifers are being drained faster than they’re being recharged, and for each person added to the U.S. population, about an acre of land is lost to urbanization;
n Immigration is the leading cause of population growth in the United States.
The resolution then urges the U.S. Congress to set immigration levels at 175,000 per year, enforce illegal immigration laws and require equitable wages and other worker benefits in international trade agreements.
County Commissioner Mick Ireland opposed Lamont’s motion, because he supports the resolution and doesn’t see any harm in leaving it in place until the county has had a chance to stage a public forum on immigration, which has been promised, but is yet to be scheduled.
“I think the resolution is fine. The fact that people are afraid because we’ve said something that’s true should not be the guiding light of government,” he said. “I don’t buy into the notion that people have an absolute right to move freely across borders.”
Ireland’s views were shared by Shellie Roy Harper, Lamont’s by Patti Clapper. Dorothea Farris was not present. The commissioners did not say when or if they would discuss the issue again.
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