Libertarians Celebrate Fifth Annual Pro-Immigration Rally

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

Libertarians Celebrate Fifth Annual Pro-Immigration Rally

by Ari Armstrong, August 23, 2002

Every year my childhood home of Palisade holds its Peach Festival. This year, libertarians celebrated the fifth annual rally to support immigrants and protest abusive INS policies.

My wife Jennifer and I showed up early August 17 at the main park in Palisade. For a few dollars, the local Lyons Club provides a breakfast of peaches, pancakes, ham, and eggs. We met Aspen activist Richard Lamping before the parade and divvied up hundreds of flyers to pass out at the parade.

Ari and Jennifer Armstrong meet Richard Lamping at the Palisade Peach Festival.

The flyers blasted "Governor Gun Control" Bill Owens for signing Amendment 22 and touted Ralph Shnelvar's pro-gun stance. (Shnelvar is the Libertarian running for governor.) Mesa County (which contains Palisade and Grand Junction) voted against Amendment 22, so anti-Owens sentiments run fairly strong.

Meanwhile, Shnelvar was busy in Denver with a rally to reform marijuana policy. That night, the Libertarian Party of El Paso County hosted John Taylor Gatto at its annual awards banquet. Congratulations to Elizabeth Bennett, named Libertarian of the Year. Elizabeth richly deserves the honor. (Hopefully in future years people will coordinate plans a little better to avoid such scheduling conflicts.)

My father Linn rode in the parade as part of the Western Slope Shriners' Scooter Patrol. Libertarian John Gurley, candidate for Mesa County Sheriff, also appeared in the parade, along with his Republican opponent Stan Hilkey.

Gurley passed out professional-looking flyers listing his credentials and outlining his goals. Gurley wants a "citizen review board for budget and policy," "a real jail, not a country club," and "less administration, more officers." He also wants to "privatize prisoner transport" and "simplify [the] concealed carry permit process." While Gurley's flyer included the Lady Liberty graphic and the LP's motto of "individual liberty, personal responsibility, [and] limited government," the handout did not mention Gurley's Libertarian affiliation.

After the Parade and a drink with the Shriners at a local bar, Jennifer, Richard, and I met up with Sharon Armstrong and some of her friends at Harry Talbott's peach farm.

Harry Talbott talks to a TV news station about the rights of business owners.

I laid out a basic case for the television news. We shouldn't turn the war on terror into a war on peaceable immigrants who come here to work. The INS should not use the war on terror as a pretext to grab more power and harass and intimidate immigrants. The agricultural industry on the Western Slope is dependent on migrant labor, so it's important to protect the rights of business owners to hire immigrants. Talbott added his comments, making the general case for less government regulation of business owners.

The Colorado Freedom