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HomeNewsDemocratic Mayor Slashes Police Budget by Over $8 Million To Aid Migrants

Democratic Mayor Slashes Police Budget by Over $8 Million To Aid Migrants

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A picture of Denver Mayor and migrants
Source: ABCNews/X

A blue city announced $45 million in funding for programs to fight the migrant influx it is facing. However, the funds resulted in over $8 million in budget cuts for the police department. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced a package of $45.9 million to fund programs for “newcomers” for 2024.

According to reports, that’s in addition to $44 million in spending already secured for the program through previous budget cuts. In 2023, spending on migrants in the city skyrocketed from $2 million monthly in August to $15 million in December. 

In January 2024, migrant numbers peaked at around 5,000 in shelters. However, according to official figures, they have since dropped to around 1,000. “After more than a year of facing this crisis together,” Johnston said. “Denver finally has a sustainable plan for treating our newcomers with dignity while avoiding the worst cuts to city services.” 

Furthermore, the mayor’s office says it will avoid employee layoffs, but there will still be cuts to find the extra $45.9 million in funding. Hence, the office will see its budget cut by nearly 10%. Meanwhile, Denver’s police department will have its budget cut by $8.4 million, about 1.9% of its budget.

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ALSO READ: Florida Governor Blames Undocumented Immigrants for Health Care Costs

According to reports, about $5 million will come from restricting hiring for open positions. Elsewhere, the city’s fire department will cut its budget by less than 1%, about $2.5 million. Similarly, this will come from not filling open positions.

The “Denver Asylum Seekers Program” program will apply to around 1,000 people in the shelter system. It will connect them with housing assistance options for six months until they can get a work permit. Furthermore, there will also be a “WorkReady” program.

Denver says it has helped over 40,000 migrants in 16 months. That is the most per capita of any city in the country, costing more than $68 million. After the announcement and the subsequent backlash, a spokesperson for Johnston commented on the budget cut.

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POLL—Should the U.S. Government Create a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?

The spokesperson rejected descriptions of the cuts as “defunding” the police. Furthermore, the spokesperson said the city will add 167 new police recruits to the force in 2024. The spokesperson also said the 1.9% cut is less than the average of 2.5% cuts to all city agencies.

They added that the cuts will not impact public services or result in officers losing their jobs. “The City of Denver’s adjustment to the Denver Police Department’s budget was carefully crafted,” spokesperson Jordan Fuja said.

ALSO READ: NYC Dissolves “Right to Shelter” Rules, Leaving Illegal Migrants Stranded

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“We worked with safety leaders and Mayor Johnston to ensure there would be no impact on the department’s public services.” He added, “To say that Denver is ‘defunding the police’ is a willful mischaracterization of the budget adjustments.” “In fact, Mayor Johnston has invested millions to add 167 new police recruits to our force in 2024,” Fuja continued. 

“And will continue to invest in public safety to ensure every Denverite is safe in their city.” Like Denver, New York City proposed significant budget cuts in 3023, including to police. However, the city later reversed them amid revenue growth. Chicago has also faced massive pressures on its budget over the number of migrants coming in.

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