About Mike McGarry

On January 22, 2012 my good friend Mike McGarry died peacefully from terminal cancer. It went pretty quickly - just a few months. Mike opted not to undergo extensive treatment.

I met Mike at an immigration forum in 1997. He hit the ground running and in 1999 organized the national Myth of Sustainable Growth: Population, Immigration, Environmental Degradation conference in Aspen. He continually stayed on top of Colorado and national immigration issues.

Mike was a high school wrestler and maintained the fighting spirit. He always enjoyed the good scrap and would not tolerate what many would simply ignore. A case in point was the 2001 Rural Resort Region lawsuit where the RRR invited "workers" (presumably illegal aliens) to attend for free, but levied a $100 admission fee to others opposing the use of illegal alien labor. Four members of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform filed suit under Colorado's Sunshine Law - and won. Afterward, McGarry told The Aspen Times, “That summit was nothing less than a Stalinist show trial. They packed the house with all their like-minded, made sure they all had their admission fees paid for by governmental, employer and foundation sources, and then told us to pay up or butt out, as if we would just walk away from an invitation to a good brawl. That's pretty funny.”

Mike exemplified the proverbial Energizer Bunny on immigration issues. He would routinely call me up and say: let's do this press conference or support this bill or do this special project. And then follow up with: by the way, since you are in Denver, can you help with the logistics and do the press releases and how about a custom website?

Highly intelligent, Mike was known for his pithy humor and charm coupled with a no-nonsense attitude on immigration. I learned much from his excellent writing and editing skills.

I will miss you, my friend.

- Fred Elbel


See: "Outspoken Aspenite Mike McGarry dies - Immigration-reform advocate falls to cancer", by Janet Urquhart, The Aspen Times, January 24, 2012

"Obituary: Michael ‘Buzz' McGarry", The Aspen Times, January 24, 2012