Government Immigration Politics

Denver’s Outrageous Move: Non-Citizens as Cops and Firefighters? Unbelievable!

Denver is contemplating a proposal that would permit non-citizens, including migrants with work authorization, to serve as police officers and firefighters. City Council President Jamie Torres and Councilmember Amanda Sandoval have suggested eliminating the charter language that currently restricts the hiring of non-citizens in these public safety roles. While the proposal may be officially introduced in a bill as early as April, amending the city’s charter necessitates a ballot initiative in November.

The fire chief and police chief have both expressed support for the idea, advocating for the inclusion of non-citizens in these crucial public safety positions. The Denver Sheriff’s Department already has the ability to hire non-citizens due to a 2016 federal settlement addressing discrimination against migrants with work authorizations.

Denver, like other major U.S. cities, has experienced an influx of illegal migrants in recent months, with over 40,000 arrivals. The city is grappling with the challenge of accommodating and supporting these migrants, resulting in overcrowded shelters and the need to evict around 800 migrant families. Mayor Mike Johnston, a Democrat, has acknowledged the strain on city resources, expressing concerns about a potential breaking point.

To address the migrant crisis, Denver is making budget cuts across various sectors, impacting departments such as the police, health, and animal shelter. The mayor has proposed significant reductions, including almost $1 million from the elections department in an election year. With estimated costs of $100 million for migrant-related expenses, including housing, schooling, and healthcare, the city faces substantial financial challenges.

Denver’s population of 710,000 has been significantly affected by the recent migrants, constituting an increase of over 5%. The strain on city resources and the potential need for a budget cut of up to $180 million underscores the complexities of managing the migrant influx. Concurrently, the city is witnessing a rise in encampments, exacerbating an existing homelessness problem that saw a more than 30% spike last year.

In the broader context, Democratic leaders in cities experiencing migrant influxes have been advocating for work authorizations for migrants to facilitate their transition out of government care. The proposal in Denver reflects the ongoing debate over immigration policies and their implications for local communities.

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