Denver To Cut Police, Fire Dept. Spending To Help Pay For Illegal Immigrant Crisis: Report
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13 : A migrant lie on the sleeping pad at a makeshift shelter in Denver, Colorado on Friday, January 13, 2023.
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

The city of Denver announced budget cuts to some departments this week, including the police, sheriff, and fire departments, to allocate more funding for illegal immigrants who have overwhelmed Colorado’s capital.

Democratic Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced the cuts on Wednesday, celebrating the move as a way to avoid “the worst-case budget cut scenarios.” The “Newcomer Program Strategy” is a nearly $90 million budget plan that funds aid and sheltering for illegal immigrants through the rest of 2024, Fox 31 reported. To pay for the illegal immigrant plan, the Democrat-run city will cut police spending by $8.4 million and fire department spending by $2.5 million, while the Sheriff’s Department will be hit with a 2.2% reduction.

“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. “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.”

Denver scrambled earlier this year to find a way to shelter an estimated 40,000 migrants who had arrived in the city over the course of a few months. The mayor took action to help mitigate the strain on migrant shelters by requiring that migrant families leave a shelter after staying for six weeks.

Johnston’s office said in January that the migrant influx was “straining capacity” and that “over the past two months, Denver has seen a dramatic uptick in arrivals and is currently sheltering 4,000 people.” The mayor added that the city would need to come up with $100 million to pay for the crisis. Denver, which is a “sanctuary city,” followed up weeks later by booting around 800 migrant families from overcrowded shelters.

The new city budget plan allocates $51.7 million for migrant shelter and housing, according to Fox 31. Another $9.7 million will go toward “supportive services,” including case management and workforce training, and $6 million will be allocated for migrant transportation.

The mayor’s office took the biggest hit in budget cuts to help pay for the illegal immigration crisis with a 9.6% reduction in spending. Other city departments taking a budget hit include the City Attorney’s Office, Economic Development, Public Health and Environment, and the Public Library, among others.

Denver’s “Newcomer Program Strategy,” comes as Colorado voters voice their frustration with the crisis at the U.S. southern border as residents listed immigration as the top issue for the 2024 election in a recent poll.


“Immigration emerging as a top issue among voters in Colorado follows trends we are seeing in research nationally,” Republican pollster Lori Wiegel said.

Colorado has become a Democratic stronghold in recent presidential elections. President Biden won the state over former President Donald Trump by nearly 14 points in 2020, a significant increase in Democrat support from 2016, when Hillary Clinton won the state by just five points.

Denver isn’t the first blue city forced to make budget cuts to handle the illegal immigration crisis. Last year, New York City cut education and police spending, dropping the number of NYPD officers to below 30,000. The Big Apple has seen over 150,000 migrants flood its streets since 2022 as the border crisis continues under the Biden administration.

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