DENVER (KDVR) — As Denver voters get ready to turn in their ballots for the June runoff, FOX31 asked the candidates what they plan to do about the recent influx of migrants coming to the city.
According to the city’s Joint Information Center, Denver has helped nearly 10,700 migrants since last December. FOX31 asked the candidates, Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston, how they would handle the increase if they win on June 6.
“We can find a way to both make sure we are finding those people access to services and not breaking the budget here in Denver,” Johnston said.
“It is clearly just not sustainable. The City of Denver has spent nearly $20 million to date to manage this issue, and so we have to do something different,” said Brough.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has been urging the federal government to do more to help migrants coming to Denver. Earlier this month, Hancock said the city needs more funding as soon as possible.
“If this situation extends for a long period of time, some hard choices are going to have to be made. And to be clear, my team and I are already beginning to talk about service cuts,” Hancock said at the May 11 press conference to address the situation.
We asked the candidates if they would cut services if things don’t change by the time a new mayor takes office. They both said the city needs to find another way.
Johnston is suggesting that Denver team up with other cities to lessen the burden.
“I think there is a way to work around that, we want to make better partnerships with both the cities at the border, like El Paso, and with the region to make sure people who aren’t trying to come to Denver, like about 70% of these migrants who are not trying to get to Denver, but trying to get someplace else. We can help find them earlier before they come here and we can help redirect them to the right place. We can find partnerships with the region, with other cities and counties who might be able to help support some of these services,” Johnston said.
While Brough said more jobs could be the solution.
“I would focus on making sure people can work. They are 18 months away from our government telling them if they are going to get asylum in our nation. It’s setting them up and us up for failure to not, so you will see me focusing on making sure they can work while they are waiting for that decision,” Brough said.
The number of migrants does seem to be slowing down every day but, we could see an uptick again at any time.