The exclusive resort town of Aspen, Colo., has an international reputation for high-end service and a stunning landscape of pristine mountains, all configured to welcome wealthy tourists. Like many communities in the U.S., Aspen depends on low-wage immigrant labor to fuel its service economy. Also like many communities in the U.S., Aspen passed a resolution calling on the federal government to restrict both documented and undocumented immigration in order to preserve the economic and cultural integrity of the nation.
But Aspen's resolution, passed unanimously by the city council in 1999, was different from many others around the country in that it played up environmental concerns as well, providing green cover for the demonization of low-income immigrants from Latin America.
Shortly after its passage, city council member Terry Paulson -- a longtime immigration critic and self-avowed environmentalist -- announced that he would be working on a statewide campaign to “promote overpopulation awareness” and declared, “If we address population and do something about it, everything else will fall in line.”