The Democratic mayor of Denver said the onslaught of illegal immigrants into his city could mean service cuts in every part of city government.
Amid media coverage of leaders in Chicago and New York City saying the influx of illegal immigrants has devastated their cities, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston. during an ABC interview last week, sought to portray Denver as having things even worse.
He called his city “ground zero” for the stampede of illegal immigrants into America’s major cities.
“We are the single largest recipient of migrants per capita of any city in America,” he said, claiming Denver has twice the burden of any other U.S. city.
Johnston alleged that Texas is responsible for its troubles, claiming Denver is a prime destination because it is the closest major city to Texas. Beginning in 2021, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began busing illegal immigrants north into Democratic-run “sanctuary cities” as a way to send a message that Texas had been bearing too great a burden of the illegal immigration that has exploded during the Biden era.
According to a Fox News report Saturday, “since the new fiscal year began on Oct. 1st, there have been more than 760,000 migrant encounters at the southern border, making the first quarter of FY 24 the highest quarter on record.”
Johnston told CBS that the nation needs “a coordinated entry plan where it’s not just the governor of Texas deciding what cities to send people to.”
Although Johnston said in his ABC interview that he believed Denver had been successful in dealing with the illegal immigrant influx, he also said the city needs to make budget cuts because of what it is spending.
“We’re having that hard conversation with our departments and our city right now. We’d like to avoid that problem,” he said.
“We think if the federal government can take action on the supplemental budget that President Biden has proposed, that would be $14 billion that could help meet this need. And so, we want to avoid having to make those hard trade-offs and we want the federal government to take action,” he said.
“If they don’t, we’ll be looking at a $160 million impact. That’s 10 percent of our entire budget. So, if you imagine cutting all of your city agencies by 10 percent and that would be historic cuts, larger than we’ve seen even in the recession times of the 2009 and 2010 cycle,” he said.’
Johnston, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson have issued a joint call for faster work authorizations for illegal immigrants in their communities, according to KMGH-TV in Denver.
Lack of federal money could impact his and other communities, Johnston said.
“If there is no federal support, there’s no coordinate entry, there’s no work authorization, then I think cities would have to look at dramatically reducing the amount of services we offered or dramatically cutting our city budgets, which has impacts on other parts of city services,” Johnston said.
According to a CBS report in November, one of the expenses facing Denver has been shipping illegal immigrants to other parts of the U.S.
As a Denver Post article reported in January of last year, Denver has spent years implementing the kind of policies that qualify for the unofficial title of “sanctuary city” for illegal immigration, such as limiting cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials:
“On Nov. 21, 2016, the Denver City Council adopted a proclamation declaring the city ‘welcoming and inclusive of all people.’ In August 2017, the mayor signed a City Council bill, the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act, that reiterated a 2014 decision that the city and county would not honor ICE holds except as required by law, continue the city of Denver’s policies of employees of not conducting the work of federal immigration enforcement and allow immigrants access to public health and human services programs. The mayor also issued an order to create a legal defense fund for indigent immigrants.”
CBS reported that Denver has spent nearly $4.5 million over the past year to send more than 12,000 illegal immigrants out of Colorado
“We say, ‘Where do you want to go?’ and then we buy them a ticket, usually by bus, and get them on their way,” said Jon Ewing, a representative of Denver Human Services, according to CBS.
Chicago, New York City and Salt Lake City are among the top destinations.
“We feel that it’s the right thing to do to get them to where they actually want to be,” Ewing said.
“If you looked at it in crude financial terms, meaning, if they stayed here for a few weeks and didn’t even want to be here, then we’d be paying to support and shelter them here and they didn’t even want to be here,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.