Denver Scrambling To Handle 40,000 New Migrants

Mayor Mike Johnston said the city will likely need $100 million.
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13 : A migrant lie on the sleeping pad at a makeshift shelter in Denver, Colorado on Friday, January 13, 2023. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Denver is struggling to metabolize the more than 40,000 illegal migrants who have arrived in the city in recent months.

Colorado’s capital is a sanctuary city, but lately, shelters are so overwhelmed that officials have decided to limit how long migrants can stay in rooms provided by the government.

Starting February 5, migrant families can only stay in a shelter room for six weeks, Mayor Mike Johnston’s office announced.

A spokesperson for Johnston’s office added that the influx is “straining capacity” and that “over the past two months, Denver has seen a dramatic uptick in arrivals and is currently sheltering 4,000 people.”

Johnston, a Democrat, said the city would likely need $100 million over the course of this year to pay for migrant costs such as housing, school, and health care.

Meanwhile, city hospital Denver Health has about $10 million in unpaid medical bills from migrants. The hospital has requested more money from both Colorado and the federal government.

Doctors there have reported an uptick in parasitic infections caused by the drinking water migrants consumed on their way to the southern border.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said the department would continue to work with the city on the migrant issue.

“We continue to urge Congress to approve our supplemental request, provide us with the resources to manage the Southwest Border in a humane, safe, and orderly manner, and provide communities across the country with the financial support they need,” the spokesperson told NBC News.

Denver has only 710,000 residents, meaning the new migrants have increased the city’s population by more than 5%. The new arrivals now make up a more significant segment of the city’s population than they do in larger cities that have seen a recent migrant influx, such as New York City or Chicago.


Meanwhile, the city’s public schools have received nearly 3,000 new migrant children, mainly from Venezuela, since July, which has strained the school system’s resources and funding, Adrienne Endres, the executive director of multilingual education for the school district, told NBC News.

More than 600 of the children previously received little to no schooling at all, so they must spend time catching up, Endres said.

More tent cities are cropping up in the city, which already has a significant homeless problem — the homeless population spiked more than 30% last year.

As many as 200 tents appeared in the area of one local bar, the owner told Fox News.

“There’s people right across the street that couldn’t even get to our door, so decline was pretty quick. The first three months, it was fine. After that, it was pretty aggressive for the decline of business,” Samantha Menendez, the co-owner of “One Shot Back” bar, said.

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