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Cost of migrants in Denver reaches $33M

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(The Center Square) – The costs associated with what the city of Denver is calling “the border crisis” have impacted city services that are transferring departmental money to cover the escalating expenditures due to asylum seekers.

The city stated that as of Dec. 4, it has supported 29,564 migrants at a cost of over $33 million.

The Denver City Council approved spending millions of dollars more at its Dec. 4 meeting to cover the costs of immigrants, including an $8 million transfer from the Denver Human Services to a newly created Border Crisis Response Special Revenue Fund. The city put $11 million in the Border Crisis Response fund in 2023 and has budgeted $9 million in 2024.

But that’s just part of the total amount the city is spending on immigrants. For example, City Council has in the last month covered the costs of legal services by adding another $750,000 to a new total of $2.95 million to non-profits providing legal services. The city also pays for the transportation of asylum seekers to anywhere in the continental U.S.

The city received a $3.5 million state grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs in 2023 for its Migrant Response Program. It also received a $1.9 million federal grant in 2023 to deal with the border crisis.

According to budget documents, the city’s Investment Impact Fund ($500,000), Alternate Transportation Fund ($2 million), and the Planned Fleet Fund ($2.5 million) all transferred money from their departments to help pay for the costs of immigrants.

But even the fire department ($80,300) and technology services ($99,900) reported having services reduced by funneling money from their departments to cover the costs of asylum seekers.

The city had between 2,000 to 3,000 asylum seekers in shelters in 2023. The city of Denver became a sanctuary city in August 2017. On Dec. 4, the city stated that there were 2,633 people being sheltered.

The city is advertising a “migrant shelter hiring event” on Dec. 8 and is offering bilingual shelter assistants pay of up to $32 per hour and stated “offers will be made on the spot.”

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