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Full Aurora City Council to consider resolution that would halt financial support of migrants, unhoused

The resolution would prevent organizations from bringing migrants and people experiencing homelessness into the city "without an agreement to address the financial impact."
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Posted at 4:24 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 00:49:31-05

UPDATE: Aurora City Council approved the resolution during a 7-3 vote on Monday. The resolution was amended just before the vote, eliminating a portion that would have allowed Aurora to accept migrants if a financial agreement was reached beforehand. Click here to read more.

AURORA, Colo. — A resolution that would halt support of migrants and people experiencing homelessness who are brought into Aurora without a prior financial agreement will be considered by the full Aurora City Council during Monday's meeting.

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.

“Immigration is not a local issue. Immigration is a federal issue and a state issue,” said Councilmember At-Large Danielle Jurinksy, who co-sponsored the resolution along with Councilmember Steve Sundberg (Ward II). “[We're] putting pressure on our governor to show up and even make a statement about this crisis. This does not fall on your local city council to handle immigration.”

The resolution was presented during the city council's Federal, State and Intergovernmental Relations (FSIR) Committee meeting on Feb. 16. The full city council will discuss and vote on the measure during Monday's meeting.

Communities across the state are grappling with an influx of migrants while also combatting a homelessness crisis. 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.

“In Aurora, we’re not going to cut our services,” Jurinsky said. “We’re not going to shut down our rec centers. We’re not going to do what Denver is doing and cut services to the people who live here.”

As of Monday, the City of Denver has spent $58 million to help support 38,861 migrants. The city has received $3.5 million from the State of Colorado and $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. City officials said they expect roughly $12.2 million in potential federal reimbursements.

Denver is currently sheltering 2,442 migrants through seven hotel shelters and two congregate shelters for migrants experiencing homelessness.



Aurora considering halting support of migrants, unhoused without prior agreement

Claire Lavezzorio
10:23 PM, Feb 16, 2024

At Denver Friends Church in Denver's Sunnyside neighborhood, migrants come in daily for clothing, food and shelter. Senior Pastor Keith Reeser and his team work to provide as much as they can to migrant families.

“Yesterday at church, we had close to 75 Venezuelans that were in our service, which was beautiful,” Reeser said. “We’re translating. We’re helping. We’re giving them food. We’re giving them shelter. We’re hearing their story. We’re praying with them, we’re loving on them. It's delightful.”

However, there is a growing divide in the Denver metro area about how to best provide for the wave of migrants coming to Colorado daily.

“I get it. We need to make big decisions from a city’s perspective, and they’re making blanket statements. But I hope we don’t lose humanity in the midst of it,” Reeser said. “Don’t you want them to survive? Can’t we figure out a way to streamline working visas because they want to work?”

“What I find to be inhumane is knowing that the City of Aurora does not have the funds to start cutting out of our budget like Denver does,” Jurinsky said. “So to intentionally bus these people into a city knowing there is no help for them here, there will be no services for them here because we do not have the budget for that. That is inhumane.”

For his part, Reeser and his church are doing all they can. He believes we all have a role to play in lending a hand.

“The reality is they are on our streets. How can we serve the one that’s in front of us?” Reeser said. "We’re receiving them pretty well compared to other places in the world. Do you really want it on our conscience that we’re letting them die on our streets? Because that is another reality that can happen.”

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