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Mayor: Migrant crisis could cost Denver $180 million in 2024

Immigration Biden Mayors
Posted at 7:06 AM, Jan 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-03 09:06:56-05

DENVER — The ongoing migrant crisis is estimated to cost the City of Denver $180 million in 2024, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston said.

Johnston announced that updated number during the weekly mayor-council meeting Tuesday evening, adding that the $180 million figure represents about 10%-15% of the entire general fund budget for the year. Last week, he estimated the cost to be around $160 million.

So far, Denver has spent $36 million helping more than 34,000 migrants since the beginning of the crisis in December 2022. Johnston is asking for more federal funding and a coordinated entry plan so Denver and other cities aren't left to deal with the crisis themselves.

“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 last week.

The city has received $3.5 million from the State of Colorado and $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The federal government has pledged to reimburse Denver up to $9 million.

On Tuesday, the city said it will begin closing a migrant encampment near Zuni and Speer due to health concerns and will open two new congregate shelters amid a continuing surge of migrants.

Over 1,500 migrants from Central and South America arrived in Denver in the past week, according to the latest figures from the city.