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Aurora considering resolution that would halt support of migrants, unhoused without prior agreement

The resolution would prevent organizations from bringing migrants and people experiencing homelessness into the city "without an agreement to address the financial impact."
Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-17 00:23:52-05

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora city leaders are considering a proposal that would halt support of migrants and people experiencing homelessness who are brought into the city unless an organization agrees to cover the costs.

The resolution was presented during the city council's Federal, State and Intergovernmental Relations (FSIR) Committee meeting on Friday and will move to the full city council for a study session debate.

The resolution states while the city is "proud of its identity as the most diverse and Global City in the state," its "financial resources or other local resources are limited and offering sanctuary or support is impossible." The City of Aurora declared that it was not a sanctuary city through a resolution in May 2017.

"We are not going to shut down our rec centers. We are not going to cut our police budget. We are not taking anything out, and that includes staff resources," said Councilmember At-Large Danielle Jurinksy, who co-sponsored the resolution along with Councilmember Steve Sundberg (Ward II).

"We have a fiscal responsibility to our citizens, residents that we have to live within our means, and we can't over-promise and under-deliver," said Sundberg.

The resolution would prevent organizations from bringing migrants and people experiencing homelessness into the city "without an agreement to address the financial impact and coordination of services." It also affirms that the city will not allocate public funds, services or staff resources for migrant support. Lastly, it calls on the federal government to address the migrant crisis.

Councilmembers grappled over how to enforce the resolution and floated the idea of ticketing bus drivers who drop off migrants or people experiencing homelessness. Councilmember At-Large Curtis Gardner opposed the resolution during Friday's discussion.

"So taking this at the definition it reads here, a fire truck would not respond if a migrant gets hit in the middle of an intersection and is bleeding to death," said Gardner.

Nonprofits like the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless worry about how this could impact their services.

"I think this really does have some really broad and negative potential impacts to how we deliver services and how we care for our community members," said Cathy Alderman, president of the coalition.

Amanda Blaurock, co-founder & executive director of The Village Exchange Center in Aurora, said in a statement she is "deeply concerned" about the precedent this resolution could set.

"I'm deeply concerned about a draft resolution that would have such over-reaching effect on the legal work of nonprofits and organizations. It sets a precedent that would allow cities and municipalities to restrict private programs and services that are legal."

The migrant crisis has placed a financial burden on cities across the Denver metro area. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced a reduction in DMV and Parks & Recreation services to help the city deal with the influx of migrants after the failure of a bipartisan immigration bill in Congress.The mayor's office has also asked other city departments to find ways to trim their budgets.

The City of Denver has spent more than $40 million to help more than 38,000 migrants.

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