Democratic Congressman Jared Polis sent out an interesting comment via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. His Tweet simply said "Boulder residents r happiest ppl in the country :-)". And Boulder residents should be happy. While the U.S. population has increased at a rate close to 10% over the past 10 years, Boulder's population has grown by only 4.6% over the same period of time thanks to its strict population control policies.
Over the last 50 years, Boulder has become a key city for the environmental movement. Situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the city enjoys clean air, clean water, and little congestion.
In 1959, the city's residents voted to restrict water service to certain areas to prevent the mountain landscape from being developed. And in 1967, the city approved an open-space sales tax to prevent urban sprawl.
But the city's most aggressive approach to controlling its population and protecting its open spaces has been through its managed growth policies. In 1971, voters approved an ordinance to keep growth below 1960's levels, and in 1976, Boulder residents approved an ordinance to limit annual growth to 1.5-2% per year, and in 1995, they lowered it to 1% where it remains today.
Boulder's growth restrictions haven't just protected the environment; they've also created a more favorable job market for its residents.
According to a case study conducted by an organization in Oregon, the population of Boulder grew by 18,980 between 1980 and 1995, but its economy created 27,000 jobs. Today, the city has a 6.5% unemployment rate - almost a full 2 points lower than Colorado's unemployment rate and nearly 3 points below the national rate.
While Boulder and Rep. Polis have tried to shield the citizens of Boulder from massive population growth, his positions on immigration are doing the opposite for the rest of the country.
Rep. Polis = Pro-Open Borders
The way Boulder has actively managed its population over the last 40 years supports Rep. Polis' Tweet.
But his actions in Congress have been quite different.
Rep. Polis has been a vocal pro-amnesty advocate who has also pushed for more legal immigration. Earlier this year, he introduced an amendment to the Homeland Security spending bill that would have put an end to the 287(g) program that allows local police to assist federal agents in enforcing immigration laws. The amendment was easily defeated with half the Democratic caucus opposing Polis.
Also this Congress, Rep. Polis has cosponsored the DREAM Act, which would give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. He's also cosponsored another 2 dozen bills that would increase immigration levels, including the STAPLE Act that would allow foreign students who earn a Ph.D. at a U.S. institution to stay and work in the United States. Of course, if they earn their degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, they'll probably have to find somewhere else to live.
Since 2000, the foreign born population in the United States has grown by 8.8 million for an increase of 28.4%. But due to Boulder's strict population ordinances, the foreign born population has grown by only 391 people for an increase of only 3.6%.
Apparently, Rep. Jared Polis doesn't oppose massive population growth driven by high levels of immigration … as long as the new immigrants don't make their way to his district.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Oct 26th 2011 @ 6:41pm EDT