Migrant Supporters Push for Sanctuary City to Do More

McAllen, Tx/U.S. - Dec. 12, 2018: Central American families that entered the U.S. illegally by crossing the Rio Grande River board a bus to their sponsors where they'll wait for their asylum hearings.

(StraightNews.org) – Pro-migration activists in Denver have lashed out at Mayor Mike Johnston’s recently announced plans to house immigrants for six months, saying they are insufficient and “offensive.” Housekeys Action Network Denver (HAND) has accused the Mayor of not doing enough to accommodate more than 40,000 migrants, despite his recent announcement that he will cut essential public services and reroute funds to assist newcomers.

A HAND spokesperson described the Mayor’s new Asylum Seekers’ Program as a “slap in the face” to illegal immigrants, while migrant Willy Bastidas said Johnston “needs to listen to us and work with us.”

The Asylum Seekers’ Program will cut $8.9 million from the city’s police department as part of a $45 million reduction in public service funding. Further budget cuts include 2.2% from the Sheriff’s Department, 1.9% from public health, 2.4% from public safety, and 3.8% from the Department for Transportation. Mayor Johnston lauded the plans, saying Denver “finally has a sustainable plan for treating our newcomers with dignity.”

In an interview with NPR in February, Mr. Johnston said most migrants are coming from Venezuela and “fleeing crisis” there. He called on the federal government to allow migrants to work and insisted Denver has enough jobs for everyone.

Like many leaders of self-described “sanctuary cities,” Johnston criticized the federal government for failing to provide enough resources and noted that almost 5% of Denver’s population now consists of illegal immigrants.

The Colorado capital has received more migrants per capita than any other US city, and in addition to cuts to services such as policing and health, its residents have had hours at recreation centers slashed. Residents of other Colorado cities say they are worried that the cuts will extend beyond Denver and are urging their political representatives to take action to discourage migration.

Council members in nearby Monument, for example, voted unanimously in April to declare itself a “non-sanctuary” area and warned Denver officials not to consider shipping migrants to other parts of the Centennial State.

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