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Denver Approves $8.9 Million in Police Budget Reductions to Support Migrant Housing

Denver to Cut Funds for Police (Credits: Newsweek)

The Finance and Governance Committee of Denver City Council has greenlit $14.6 million in budget cuts, with a total of $41 million in reductions planned, aimed at funding “newcomer operations,” a term coined by the city’s Democratic mayor to cover migrant housing expenses.

The approved cuts include $8.9 million for the city’s police department, marking the largest reduction ever seen in Denver’s budget for law enforcement. Additionally, the sheriff’s office faces a $3.8 million cut, and the fire department is expected to absorb a $2.4 million decrease in funding.

The Finance and Governance Committee of Denver City Council (Credits: Denverite)

Pending full city council approval on Monday, the cuts are slated to take effect on May 10, according to a report by KDVR.

Denver’s move to reclaim $41 million from its budget is in response to the city’s $89.9 million in costs associated with its sanctuary city status for undocumented migrants.

Mayor Mike Johnston hailed the plan as a sustainable approach to provide dignified treatment for newcomers while mitigating the need for severe cuts to essential city services.

The police and fire department reductions represent the most substantial cuts in terms of financial impact.

Denver has accommodated over 41,000 migrants, incurring expenses totaling $68 million. Currently, 712 migrants are housed in hotel shelters, with an additional 86 individuals in short-term shelters, as per KDVR.

Denver City Council (Credits: Emerge America)

Of the $89.9 million allocated for migrant support, the majority—$51.7 million—will go towards shelter and housing. The city has also earmarked $19.5 million for one-time capital expenses and contingency funds.

Earlier this month, officials from Mayor Johnston’s office informed migrants that the city was offering 20,000 one-way tickets out of Denver. While the response to this offer remains unclear, it follows Governor Greg Abbott’s transfer of a group of migrants from Texas to Denver on March 26, according to a city spokesperson cited by the Daily Mail.

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