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Locals answer call to action

Janet Urquhart

The influx of immigrants to the Roaring Fork Valley and what one local activist calls the resultant “artificial” population explosion here spurred a gathering of about 15 people Saturday who want to do something about the situation.

Aspenite Mike McGarry, an outspoken critic of immigration – and especially illegal immigration – convened the first meeting of his newly formed Valley Alliance for Social and Environmental Responsibility at the Pitkin County Library.

In addition to the approximately 15 people who attended, McGarry said he received calls from another dozen or so interested citizens who couldn’t make the group’s first meeting.

The consensus of the group, said McGarry, is “there’s just too much illegal immigration here. It’s gotten to be too much.”

While McGarry, a maintenance worker by trade, said immigration in general concerns him, illegal immigration is “the sharp stick in the eye. I mean, it’s ridiculous.

“The whole focus of this thing is anything that unnecessarily adds to the population numbers in this valley,” he said. “Illegal immigration is the most offensive and the most obvious place to start.”

Toward that end, the alliance’s first target is Roaring Fork Legal Services, which McGarry charges with providing legal advice to illegal aliens to help them cope with the opening of a new Immigration and Naturalization Service enforcement office in Glenwood Springs later this summer.

The city of Aspen gave $5,000 to the legal service this year, while Pitkin County gave the organization $3,000 and provided it with free office space.

The alliance’s first order of business will be actively objecting to the public financing of a legal service that, claims McGarry, helps illegal aliens thwart the INS. Roaring Fork Legal Services officials have flatly denied his charges.

McGarry and fellow alliance members plan to appear before both the Aspen City Council and Pitkin County commissioners soon to voice their concerns.

“We’re going to ask them to get our money back and to stop giving free office space for an organization that’s giving lawyers to illegal aliens with our tax money,” McGarry said.

In addition, the alliance plans to hold subsequent meetings in downvalley locales – Carbondale and possibly Glenwood Springs, he said.


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