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Denver mayor warns city is ‘very close’ to a ‘breaking point’ with migrant surge

Fox News’ Lawrence Jones speaks with Denver Mayor Mike Johnston on the Colorado city’s migrant crisis in a ‘Fox & Friends’ exclusive interview.

The city of Denver has begun ejecting around 800 migrant families from shelters as it scales back on aid for illegal immigrants. 

On Monday, about 140 families were booted out from temporary accommodations in Colorado’s capital, with the remaining 660 families expected to be removed over the next few weeks, according to city officials. 

The sanctuary city has been struggling to stretch its limited resources to support the growing number of migrants in the city. Texas has transported thousands of migrants to sanctuary cities like Denver, to showcase the problems border states face when migrants flood their cities. 

Migrants on the floor

Migrants at a makeshift shelter in Denver, Colorado, on Jan. 13, 2023. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)


With overcrowded shelters and overrun hospitals, Denver state officials have begun enforcing a limit on the amount of time that migrants can stay in state-provided rooms to accommodate the daily influx of individuals, according to a report from NBC News. 

As of last week, Denver was sheltering 3,813 people with more waves of illegal immigrants still descending on the city. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston, a Democrat, said the city is at full capacity.

“We have filled every single hotel room that we have available in the city and county of Denver,” Johnston said during a town hall meeting last week.

“Now we have the terrible decision that if we don’t start exiting folks, we will have 250 folks that will arrive today or the day after who don’t have anywhere to go at night,” Johnston said.

Johnston told Fox News last week that the city was “very close” to breaking point due to the crisis.

The city had initially paused shelter exits due to the colder weather, but due to space and timing, that pause will end this week, according to 9News. Previously, migrants with children were allowed to stay for 37 days,

“As of Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, Denver has supported 38,380 migrants from the southern border at a cost of more than $42 million,” a statement on the city’s website reads. 

Mike Johnston

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston told Fox News last week that the city was “very close” to breaking point due to the crisis. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)


“This influx of migrants is straining capacity, and based on current projections, could force the city to cut as much as $180 million from its annual budget,” the city said in a press release. 

Yoli Casas, of the nonprofit ViVe Wellness, said the number of migrants arriving in the city is unprecedented. ViVe Wellness is helping the city address its migrant crisis. 

“We have never seen so many people come and so many people in the last year… so Feb. 5 for me is a date that hurts a lot because it’s a date that, for various reasons, we’re full,” Casas told 9News. “There’s just no more space.”

The city has also been helping migrants leave the city by purchasing bus tickets. In January alone, the city purchased more than 2,000 tickets, sending people to other destinations within the United States, with most going to New York City and Chicago, according to Denverite.

Homeless encampment Denver

Homeless encampment on Pennsylvania Street in Denver on Aug. 23, 2023. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)


The influx of migrants has also put the city’s health system at a breaking point.  

About 8,000 illegal immigrants recorded about 20,000 visits to Denver Health last year, receiving services such as emergency room treatment, primary care, dental care and childbirth. The visits contributed to the system being in the red by about $22 million.

Denver passed laws to become a sanctuary city, but it doesn’t include a right-to-shelter provision, which means there is no official policy that compels the local government to provide shelter indefinitely. 

Fox News’ Alba Cuebas-Fantauzzi contributed to this report.

Michael Dorgan is a writer for Fox News Digital and Fox Business.

You can send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @M_Dorgan.

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