Denver Puts Illegal Immigrants First: $90 Million Diverts From Taxpayer Services

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston revealed a significant change on Wednesday in the city’s approach to the issue of illegal aliens, offering extended support for six months, but with only approximately 1,000 available spaces.

The city’s budget plan of nearly $90 million outlines how it intends to finance housing and assistance for immigrants for the rest of 2024. The mayor’s change in direction follows the city’s unsuccessful attempt to secure federal assistance. According to a press release, Denver has provided aid to over 40,000 immigrants since late 2022.

“After more than a year of facing this crisis together, Denver finally has a sustainable plan for treating our newcomers with dignity while avoiding the worst cuts to city services,” Johnston said in a statement.

“So many times, we were told that we couldn’t be compassionate while still being fiscally responsible. Today is proof that our hardest challenges are still solvable and that together, we are the ones who will solve them,” he added.

Democratic-led cities like Denver had requested assistance from the Biden administration to help manage the influx of migrants entering their communities.

President Joe Biden requested $1.4 billion in funding from Congress for this initiative as part of his budget proposal. However, Congress rejected the request and opted to reduce the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Shelter and Services Program funding from $800 million to $650 million.

“Whether we’d like the federal government to do it or not, that was no longer a choice for us,” Johnston said.

City officials argue that the new approach will allow waves of immigrants while prioritizing efforts to help them achieve independence.

This shift marks a departure from the city’s previous strategy, which involved providing shelter stays lasting weeks to months.

Illegal Aliens will be accommodated in apartments for a period of up to six months. During this time, they will have access to job and skills training, opportunities for certifications, unpaid work experience, food assistance, and assistance with filing asylum applications.

The “Denver Asylum Seeker Program” will serve as a safety net, providing comprehensive preparation while immigrants await the processing of their work permits for up to six months after applying for asylum.

“In Denver, we believe that the way to solve these problems is not by turning our back on our American values, but by turning to our American values,” Johnston said.

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Earlier this year, Mr. Johnston asked all city departments with finding innovative methods to reduce expenses by 10 to 15 percent, as reported by KDVR-TV.

This directive came at a time when Denver was housing 5,000 illegal aliens daily, with estimated costs reaching $180 million.

The decrease in the number of illegal aliens has led to a reduction in budget cuts, resulting in a total package of $45.9 million.

The updated plan, which includes a prior allocation of $44 million, brings the program’s annual budget to a total of $89.9 million. The city has already utilized $25 million from this budget in the first quarter.

Breakdown of Budget Spending Plan:

  • Program administration: $3 million
  • Housing: $51.7
  • Supportive services, including case management and workforce training: $9.7 million
  • Transportation: $6 million
  • One-time capital costs: $9.5 million
  • Contingency: $10 million

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By Hunter Fielding
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