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Denver to Spend $180M on Migrants in 2024, Mayor Calls it ‘Unsustainable’

A small fire destroys a migrant tent in an illegal encampment in Denver, which city officials ordered removed on Wednesday. Jan. 3, 2024. USA TODAY
A small fire destroys a migrant tent in an illegal encampment in Denver, which city officials ordered removed on Wednesday. Jan. 3, 2024. USA TODAY

By: Tom Gantert | The Center Square

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston told the City Council on Tuesday that the infusion of migrants to their city will cost $180 million this year and is not sustainable.

Johnston said the city had 150 buses carrying migrants arrive in December. He said there were 250 new migrants arriving every day.

“This challenge is far larger than we have ever seen it before,” Johnston said. “The scale can feel overwhelming.”

He said the city has 4,500 “newcomer migrants” in shelters so far in 2024, and there were 400 migrants in city shelters 100 days ago.

City Councilmember Flor Alvidrez said she was proud of the work the city has done with migrants but had concerns.

“My fear is that we’re the only ones doing anything about these issues so we are going to have the entire country sending all their unhoused, sending all their migrants here,” Alvidrez said during the meeting. “I want to work with other cities, and other states and other places to do their part too, this isn’t a Denver issue. This is a United States of America issue.”

Johnston said that Denver had more migrants than the city of Chicago and had 2.5 times more number of migrants per capita than any other U.S. city.

“We are the closest, cheapest bus ticket from El Paso,” Johnston said. “It’s the cheapest ticket for [Texas] Governor [Greg] Abbott and anyone else to buy, so they just come to Denver. We think that is unsustainable for this city.”

Abbott posted Dec. 20 on social media that Texas has shipped 11,000 migrants to Denver since August 2022.

“Texas has transported over 95,000 migrants to sanctuary cities,” Abbott posted Jan. 2 on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. “Sanctuary cities like NYC & Chicago have seen only a FRACTION of what overwhelmed Texas border towns face daily. We will continue our transportation mission until Biden reverses course on his open border policies.”

Related Story: Texas Busing Migrants to Sanctuary Cities Intensifies Spotlight on Border Crisis

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