Denver’s Democrat Mayor Mike Johnston warned that the city is close to its breaking point as officials struggle to accommodate the growing number of economic migrants entering the country through the U.S. southern border under the Biden administration.
Democrat-run cities, like Denver, whose leaders have touted their sanctuary city policies, are now claiming they cannot accommodate the influx of undocumented migrants in their communities.
More than 6.5 migrants have crossed the border since Biden took office, not including an estimated 1.7 million known gotaways, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In fiscal year 2023, 169 people on the terrorist watchlist were caught attempting to enter the country through the U.S.-Mexico border. Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began transporting hundreds and sometimes thousands of migrants to sanctuary cities across the U.S. to expose the problems faced by small border towns and cities in Southern border states whose public services (public schools, hospitals and shelters) have been overwhelmed as a result of the Biden's administration's policies allowing massive illegal immigration.
Since December, multiple reports noted that the city has housed 4,000 migrants in its shelters, with more expected to arrive. Citing city officials, Fox News reported earlier this week that Denver would be removing around 140 families from shelters, with plans to remove an additional 660 migrant families over the next few weeks.
CBS News reported Monday that the city of Denver will be discharging migrants who have been housed at shelters for 42 days, based on their arrival date.
According to a statement on the city’s website, Denver has supported 38,443 migrants as of Feb. 5, 2024, at a cost of more than $42 million. The statement warned that the influx of economic migrants could force the city to cut as much as $180 million from its annual budget for other services.
Last week, Mayor Johnston told Fox News that Denver was "very close" to its breaking point. During a press conference last week, the mayor stated that the city is at full capacity.
"We have filled every single hotel room that we have available in the city and county of Denver," he said. "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.”
Massachusetts’ Democratic Gov. Maura Healey voiced similar concerns about the state’s ability to accommodate any more illegal immigrants as dozens of migrants sleep on the floor at the Logan Airport in Boston. Last month, Healey cited this as evidence that the state cannot house any additional migrants.
“The bottom line here is that we really are reaching, have reached capacity,” Healey said. … “I just continue to express in the strongest terms possible, that’s why we need action at the federal government. This is not a problem that Massachusetts created. However, it’s a problem that we’re having to deal with right now.”
As The Boston Herald previously reported in November, the state’s shelter system maxed out at 7,500 families, and many adults and children were put on a waitlist. The photos of migrants sleeping at the airport in Boston were shared first by CBS News last month. Other states that have been forced to shelter migrants at airports include Texas, Arizona, Illinois and New York.
In an affluent suburb of Chicago, Illinois, a city councilman recently pitched the idea of asking residents to open their homes to economic migrants, noting that the influx of illegal immigrants under the Biden administration is untenable, according to The Gazette.
President Joe Biden has faced criticism from Republicans and some members of his party for the border crisis. Texas' governor, in particular, has accused the Biden administration of failing to fulfill its “constitutional duty” to enforce federal laws.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the president was threatening to reduce funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the coming weeks, thus thwarting the agency’s ability to remove illegal immigrants at the southern border in retaliation for the failure of the Senate’s unpopular border bill, according to American Military News.
During a press gaggle, Jean-Pierre told reporters, “Here is what that means: ICE would be forced to reduce its removal operations, its total detention capacity, and more. When ICE can’t conduct these operations, our national security and public safety will be harmed.”
In response, Republicans in both the House and the Senate criticized the Biden administration for “threatening the American people.”
Rep. Austin Pfluger, R-Texas, tweeted, “President Biden has now resorted to threatening the American people with an even worse border crisis. The President already has the tools and authority he needs to close the border. This crisis is intentional.”
On Monday, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, listed 12 reasons why the Senate’s border bill could not be viewed as a legitimate solution, including that it would allow 1.8 million illegal immigrants to enter the U.S., and would continue to allow catch-and-release of economic migrants into the country.
According to NBC News, the Biden administration is planning to take executive action to address the border crisis. According to two U.S. officials, the administration has been considering the plan for months.
The unnamed official reportedly told the network that the measures the administration is considering might upset some progressive members of Congress but will likely prove pleasing to Democratic mayors who've requested help from the federal government. At this time, however, the measures are not expected to take place, as they are still in the process of being drafted, according to NBC.
Biden criticized Senate and House Republicans for rejecting the proposed Senate border bill that included funding for Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, that many saw as a war-funding bill instead of a border security bill. Multiple Republican senators, including Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn said would've only exacerbated the border crisis by a president who is refusing to enforce current immigration laws.
“The fact of the matter is we have no confidence, zero confidence, that the Biden administration will enforce the law when it comes to the border,” Cornyn said.