The city of Denver is blaming its migrant crisis on the U.S. Congress’ failure to pass a border security deal this week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
Denver has the largest migrant population per capita than any other city in the nation besides New York, which has put a strain on city resources and services. Democratic Denver Mayor Mike Johnston is upset that the U.S. Congress failed to pass a border security deal this week that he believes would have helped address the nation’s migrant crisis and, by extent, the city’s migrant crisis, according to the WSJ. (RELATED: Denver Makes Massive Budget Cuts To Deal With Swelling Migrant Crisis)
“Today is a day the residents of Denver should be heartbroken,” Johnston said in an Instagram post on Thursday. “And they should be furious because we know we have a humanitarian crisis in this city.”
“We should all feel heartbroken and furious about our government’s failure to act on the migrant crisis,” Johnston stated.
I’m proud of what our city has done in the face of the migrant crisis, but without federal aid, we’re facing tough choices—starting with cuts to DMV and Parks & Rec. More conversations ahead as we navigate this challenge, but we’ll push through. Denver is bigger than this moment. pic.twitter.com/8eiDjQjRRJ
— Mayor Mike Johnston (@MikeJohnstonCO) February 10, 2024
The Senate released a bill on Sunday that would have tied border security funding to foreign aid funding for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific. The bill was criticized by Republican lawmakers for taking too weak an approach to securing the border and failing to address the underlying problems of the immigration crisis.
Denver is becoming increasingly concerned that federal help is not coming to aid in the city’s migrant crisis, according to the WSJ. The city of 713,000 has taken in over 40,000 migrants in the past year, putting it in second place for the most migrants per capita of any other city.
The city has spent tens of millions of dollars to try and quell the crisis, according to the WSJ. As of Feb. 5, Denver spent over $42 million in 2023 on housing and food supplements for new migrant arrivals; public schools are trying to take in thousands of new students, costing the city over $17.5 million in expenses, the Denver Post reported. The city is also trying to provide healthcare to the migrant population, adding an additional $10 million to the bill.
The migrant crisis has affected nearly the entire city of Denver, according to the WSJ. The city could pay out an additional $180 million throughout 2024 to continue addressing the crisis; budget cuts for the year have already been made in favor of funding migrant aid services.
The rejected Senate bill would have provided sanctuary cities, including Denver, $1.4 billion in reimbursements, according to the WSJ. The Biden administration has thus far provided Denver with $11 million in reimbursements but the city is requesting an additional $2.6 million.
“Denverites have done their part, the city will do our part. The federal government failed to do their part,” Johnston said on Friday. “Addressing this crisis will require shared sacrifice, but we will continue to work together to meet this moment.”
Johnston did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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