With increasing numbers of migrants arriving in Colorado, public officials have rejected any notion of the state becoming a sanctuary for migrants and asylum seekers.
No Room for Migration
State, county, and city officials in Colorado are making it clear that they don’t want to become a haven for mass migration as illegal migrants and asylum seekers flood into the Western state.
Denver, Colorado, is one of several ‘sanctuary cities’ – along with New York City and Chicago – that have become the objects of targeted migration, particularly via the southern U.S.-Mexico border.
Feeling the Pressure
These cities are feeling the pressure on public services and infrastructure as thousands of undocumented people arrive, and officials are calling for federal funding, support, and intervention.
The Right to Defend Themselves
In Texas, which is also dealing with record-high waves of migration, Governor Greg Abbott has stirred up controversy by asserting the state’s right to defend itself from an influx of migration.
Denver Mayor Supports Texas Governor
In a telling move, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston has tentatively supported Abbott, saying that Texas should not “have to carry the entire weight of this newcomer population.”
Colorado Officials Take a Stand
At a recent press conference, Dave Donelson, a councilman for Colorado Springs, was one of the first officials to take a stand.
“Colorado Springs is not a sanctuary city,” he said. “We want to come out and say that clearly.”
“Betrayal of Our Nation”
He went even further in an email response to Newsweek, telling the outlet that the government’s failure to enforce border policies properly was “a betrayal of our nation.”
Press Conference Confronts the Issue
The press conference was held to address the wider issue of immigration in the state, held by the El Paso County Board of Commissioners Chair Cami Bremer. Chair members came forward to take a stance on the migration wave.
County Commissioners Are United
“El Paso County has not, and will not, be designated as a sanctuary county,” Bremer told attendees. “All five county commissioners are united in this position.”
Supporting Legal Migration
“While we acknowledge the hardships faced by migrants seeking better lives,” she continued, “it is essential for us to emphasize our unwavering support for legal immigration through established channels.”
A “Dangerous Game” With “Finite” Resources
Vice Chair Carrie Geitner described the situation as a “dangerous game” with real risks to migrant safety, especially since financial support for migrant resettlements was “finite.”
A Proactive Conference
El Paso spokesperson Vernon Stewart also responded to Newsweek in an email where he described the press conference as “proactive” in confronting the pressure that this issue is placing on local communities.
Focused on Residents
“This was evident in the press conference held yesterday, where we clearly articulated our stance that El Paso County will not be a sanctuary county,” he elaborated.
“Our primary focus remains the welfare and needs of our existing residents.”
In Their Best Interests
He went on to confirm that community resources should be prioritized for residents and used in “a manner that serves their best interests.”
Drawing a Line in the Sand
“We in El Paso County must draw a line in the sand. We’re not in the business of selling dreams that can’t be fulfilled,” he told Newsweek.
“Offering sanctuary or support beyond our capabilities is a dangerous game, one that risks the safety of both migrants and our citizens.”
Colorado Springs officials seem to be in wide agreement on the topic. The city’s mayor, Yemi Mobolade, also addressed the discussion on migration to Colorado in a public statement.
“In Service to Our Own Residents”
“While we are called to serve and help those in need, as mayor I will act as a thoughtful and careful steward of our taxpayer dollars,” the statement read.
“We must use these limited resources in support of and in service to our own residents first.”
However, officials like Donelson have taken issue with the mayor for what they see as a failure to seek assistance from the federal government.
Donelson, in particular, called the mayor out for accusing concerned officials of “political grandstanding.”
No Political Grandstanding Here
“Sending an absolutely clear message that the county and city won’t spend taxpayer dollars on providing services to illegal aliens isn’t political grandstanding,” Donelson said. “It is a useful message to let all parties understand our intentions.”
“No Support for Illegal Aliens”
“[Mobolade] states that we have to take care of our residents ‘first,'” Donelson continued.
“That implies that we might then take care of someone else second if we are able to. The message the county commissioners and I were sending is that we aren’t providing housing, food, or other support for illegal aliens–period.”
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