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Hickenlooper, Bennet, Crow, Pettersen, Johnston Call on Congress to Support Colorado Communities Receiving Migrants

Jan 18, 2024

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet, U.S. Representatives Jason Crow and Brittany Pettersen, and Denver Mayor Mike Johnston called on Congress to take urgently needed action to support communities who are receiving migrants.

“As a former mayor, I know firsthand how our cities are on the frontlines of national policy issues like our broken immigration system,” said Hickenlooper. “We have to make sure that any final compromise around the border negotiations taking place right now includes the resources to deliver the support that every city in this country needs.”

“Colorado communities like Denver and Carbondale have worked hard to house the immigrants that had come there, but they don’t have room in their budgets to be able to deal with this on our own. Congress needs to step up,” said Bennet. “Immigration is the responsibility of the federal government – we can’t fail, blame each other, walk away and say it’s someone else’s responsibility. This is our responsibility.”

“The sixth district of Colorado is one of the most diverse districts in the nation – 20 percent of my constituents were born outside of the United States and I have over 130 languages and dialects spoken in my public school system. Those immigrants and refugees are a source of great strength and pride,” said Crow. “We have a broken immigration system that is in desperate need of reform, and Congress must act in a common sense reasonable way to fix that broken system. I also know that in Colorado, we do not allow people to go hungry and starve and freeze on our streets who need our help. That’s why we’re here today.”

“We have to recognize that our asylum system is in desperate need of being revamped,“ said Pettersen. “This is an issue that is hitting communities, not just in Denver, but it’s also coming to my community, and across Colorado and the nation. This should not be a partisan tactic on winning elections. This is something that we have to come together on in a bipartisan way.”

“Like many cities in America, Denver is a vibrant, thriving city full of generous folks who want to see everyone succeed. We are also a city right now that is facing a humanitarian crisis and a fiscal crisis unlike anything we’ve seen in the last 25 years. That is a result of the ongoing influx of migrant arrivals who are seeking asylum in America and the system that is not adequately helping them succeed,” said Johnston. “I am delighted to be here today with our delegation who has worked so hard to support us and to make sure that we can get bipartisan support out of Congress to take on this challenge and deliver a humanitarian solution that would give us the right to work, federal support, and a coordinated plan for entry.”

Denver has spent over $38 million to meet the humanitarian needs of more than 37,000 migrant arrivals, including sheltering nearly 4,400 migrants – many of whom are children. Other Colorado communities, including Carbondale and Aurora, continue to provide assistance to migrants.

Earlier this month, Hickenlooper, Bennet, Crow, Neguse, and Pettersen urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency to increase its support for communities and nonprofits assisting migrants arriving in Colorado. Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced $8.6 million to assist Denver’s migrant support efforts following Hickenlooper and Bennet’s letter urging DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to support Colorado and Denver as they addressed the humanitarian needs of migrants.


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