COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The mayor of Colorado Springs took to social media Friday to address citizens’ concerns after the sudden arrival of nearly two dozen migrant families to the area in recent days.
Mayor Yemi Mobolade held a virtual news conference from his office via Facebook Live where he provided few details about the arriving migrant families, only saying he believed the approximately 21 migrant families had arrived by bus.
Casting blame on news media for making the situation “feel like there is a crisis,” Mayor Mobolade reassured residents that the city was not in a crisis situation and that his intent was not to “invite a crisis into our city.”
“As your mayor, it’s really important to me that I am a careful steward of our taxpayer dollars,” Mobolade said. “It is also not my intent that we become a sanctuary city – that is now what I signed up as mayor to become.”
Since late 2022, thousands of migrants – many of them from Venezuela – have crossed the southern border illegally as they escape violence and economic instability in their home countries. About 16,000 of them have been bused to Denver by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, who has vowed to continue sending them to cities like Denver, Chicago and New York due to their welcoming attitude toward migrants, regardless of legal status.
“While this crisis is not in the city of Colorado Springs yet, it would be irresponsible for us not to plan,” Mayor Mobolade said. “What I've done is to activate our Pikes Peak Office of Emergency Management to start to play out different kinds of scenarios, because we have to be proactive, we have to think ahead in terms of different types of scenarios that meet our city.”
Mobolade joined Denver Mayor Mike Johnston in decrying inaction in Congress to deal with influx of migrants, and called on President Joe Biden and the federal government “to help us to ensure that this crisis doesn’t impact our city.”
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“I know there’s a lot of questions around, ‘Was there a bus? Were there buses? How big is the bus?’ We don’t know. We know that families ended up in our community and we think they arrived through a bus,” he said. “Ultimately, that’s what I want to share – is, we’re not in a crisis stage. Neither am I asking that we get into a crisis stage.”
Mobolade said the city is being pragmatic and was convening local leaders to come up with a plan to deal with any kind of emergency that may arise in order to keep the community safe.
“As many of you know, my story hails from a different part of the world. I'm an immigrant myself,” he said. “I know I can't speak for the migrants in the southern border, but if I was to guess, they're also coming here for opportunity. … These families are looking for opportunity, and hence, the federal government needs to step up and ensure that they're being taken care of.”
The mayor also called on Colorado Springs residents to “deescalate the situation.”
“Ultimately, I just want to encourage you – if you just join me in deescalating this situation, because we’re not in crisis mode,” Mobolade said, as he spoke of the 21 migrant families who had arrived recently. “Denver’s dealing with 40,000 families. They’re in crisis.”