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Mountain News: Tension abounds in Colorado over immigration crackdown attempts

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ASPEN, Colo. — Tension about the Trump administration's policies on immigration continues to be in the news in Aspen, a resort community vitally dependent on employees willing to work for lower wages. Many appear to be in the United States illegally.

Pitkin County commissioners in April passed a resolution that declared Pitkin County would be a "welcoming community for immigrants." The county resolution instructs county personnel to not perform the functions of federal immigration officers or otherwise engage in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

But the Trump administration is now trying to use federal purse strings to get local cooperation with immigration officials. A memo sent from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to county sheriffs in Colorado reminded them that "state and local jurisdictions may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual."

Pitkin County responded that cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and federal immigration officials may violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects persons against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Aspen Daily News reported that Pitkin County officials won't budge. County Manager Jon Peacock said he believes the resolution does not appear to violate the federal law cited by Sessions in his memo.

Tension and uncertainty are also reported among immigrants, worried they may be deported.

"People are afraid enough of being deported that even documented immigrants — people with green cards who are here legally — are asking that their names be removed from enrolment lists at local health-services providers," Jennifer Smith, one of three attorneys in the Roaring Fork Valley whose practice is totally focused on immigration law, told the Daily News.

"They do not want to talk to police officers, either as victims of crimes or witnesses. I have clients who do not want to travel, especially abroad. I tell them, 'Hey, you have a green card. You should be able to leave the country and come back legally.' But many don't want to risk it."

Carbon and the conundrum of long-distance travel

TELLURIDE, Colo. — Thousands of people gathered in Telluride over the Memorial Day weekend for Telluride Mountainfilm. The festival had films documenting the problems caused by the changing climate, which scientists said is mostly due to the greenhouse gas emissions being put into the atmosphere.

What can Telluride do to reduce its role in global warming? Stop having festivals, wrote Glenn Raleigh, a local resident, in a letter published in the Telluride Daily Planet. He estimated that Bluegrass Festival, to be held in late June, would cause people to drive between 1.9 and three million kilometres.

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