Activists Support Immigrants
by Ari Armstrong
[The following article originally appeared in the September/October 2001 edition of Colorado Liberty.]
Libertarians from across the state joined together August 18 to pick fruit near Palisade, to support support immigrants and protest abusive policies of the INS.
"I was happy with the turnout and that all three television networks showed up to broadcast the event," said Richard Lamping, the event's organizer for the fourth consecutive year. On the same day, Palisade held its annual Peach Fest to celebrate the harvest.
Galen Wallace, a local fruit grower and Libertarian city council member, said, "Without migrant workers, the agricultural industry would cease to exist." Wallace noted that immigration restrictions leave workers at the mercy of unscrupulous labor dealers. He said that problem would disappear if business owners in the United States were able to contact migrant workers and obtain free passage for them.
Bruce Talbott, another farmer, also said immigrants are essential for American agriculture, estimating that between 70-80% of the area's agricultural work is performed by im-migrants. "Some guys [from Mexico] have been here as long as 20 to 25 years," he noted. Talbott let the Libertarians spend the day picking peaches on one of the orchards his family rents.
Joe Johnson, who drove from Louisville with BetteRose Smith and Elizabeth Bennett, strapped on stilts and dressed up as the Statue of Liberty. He held a sign which read, "I was born in France -- What about you?" and, "When I said, 'Give me your weak, your poor'... I Meant It!"
Ari Armstrong, another participant who grew up helping his grandfather grow Palisade peaches, said, "The great thing about this country is that it attracts people from all over the world who want freedom and who want to participate in our system of free enterprise." He added, "The federal government is sending out men with guns to hunt down other people for doing nothing more than trying to earn an honest day's pay."
Armstrong also commented, "It's too bad so many Republicans are hypocrites on this issue. They claim to support property rights, but they actively violate property rights by interfering with business owners' rights to hire workers, with workers' rights to pursue a job, and with consumers' rights to purchase products and services of their choice. For Libertarians, the freedom of contract is a fundamental human right."
Other participants included Jennifer Armstrong, Linn and Sharon Armstrong, and Dawn Lamping.