Denver Creates $18 Million Fund for Illegal Aliens; Debates Outsourcing of Services to Private Companies
FAIR Take | July 2023
The Denver City Council last week gave initial approval to two ordinances to address the influx of illegal aliens resulting from the Biden border crisis. The first creates a “Border Crisis Response Special Revenue Fund” (Border Fund); the second authorizes moving a combined $18.2 million from the General Fund Contingency, the Technology Services Capital Improvement Fund (TSCIF), the Human Services Special Revenue Fund (HSSRF), and General Government Special Revenue Fund into the Border Fund. Final votes on these measures are expected in July.
The City of Denver is also on the brink of signing a $40 million contract with GardaWorld, the same company selected by Governor Ron DeSantis to transport illegal aliens to other states. In a contract that would run through March 2024, GardaWorld would provide shelter, food, medical and reunification services for 1,000 migrants. The proposal is scheduled for a vote at the Council’s July 10 meeting.
Since December 2022, Denver has been hammered with an influx of 11,863 illegal aliens, mostly originating from El Paso, Texas, 600 miles away. They are heading to Denver because it is a sanctuary city that provides them with a host of resources. Denver became a sanctuary city in August 2017.
When Denver became a sanctuary city nearly six years ago, Mayor Michael Hancock said at the time, “Denver is sending a clear and resolute message to our community that we stand with the immigrant and refugee communities and are committed to remaining a city that is safe and welcoming for all.” He continued, “[A]long with this new ordinance, I look forward to signing a complementary executive order that will establish a legal defense fund; create a working group to track developments and policy around immigration; protect victims of crime regardless of their immigration status; assist children and families who become separated by the country’s broken immigration system; and continue coordinating actions for immigrants and refugees.”
Officials said the city is spending approximately $800-$1,000 per migrant per week. As a result, from January to June it expects to spend between $17 and $20 million on shelter, meals, hotels, transportation, staffing, supplies and other services. The city has recouped a significant portion of that money from the federal and Colorado governments. The Department of Homeland Security gave Denver $8.6 million to address the crisis. In addition, the city received another nearly $1 million in federal taxpayer dollars and $3.5 million from the state.
While the City Council claims the monies being shifted into the Border Fund would not actually be used, taking money from the HSSRF and TSCIF arguably would divert money from needy residents and valuable public safety infrastructure simply to pay for services for illegal aliens. The city’s homeless population, in particular, is likely to suffer. Instead of providing access to clean water, bathrooms, and trash removal, the city of Denver removed homeless encampments near Coors Field ahead of the Colorado Rockies’ opening day.