Sanctuary Cities Cut Back On Shelter Programs Amid Migrant Surge

In recent months, Democrat-led cities that previously promoted themselves as welcoming havens for illegal migrants have been scaling back on their shelter programs due to rising costs and community opposition. New York City, Chicago, and Denver are among these cities grappling with the financial and logistical challenges brought by an influx of migrants.

New York City has seen over 200,000 migrants arrive since spring 2022. Mayor Eric Adams declared a financial crisis last September, highlighting a $12 billion deficit largely attributed to the cost of housing and providing services to migrants. The city spent $1.45 billion on migrant-related expenses in the fiscal year 2023. In response, Adams instituted a policy limiting migrants to 30-day stays in shelters, with some exceptions for medical or other urgent needs.

Similarly, Chicago has faced significant financial strain, spending around $150 million to support over 43,000 migrants since August 2022. Mayor Brandon Johnson implemented a policy restricting most adult migrants to 60-day stays in shelters. Johnson criticized Congress for not providing adequate support, stating that the city’s resources are stretched thin without federal assistance.

Denver has also been heavily impacted, with more than 42,000 migrants arriving since December 2022. The city has spent an estimated $340 million on migrant services. Mayor Mike Johnston announced budget cuts, including reductions in funding for the police and fire departments, to allocate more resources for migrant support. Denver has since closed four migrant shelters to manage costs, resulting in a decrease in the number of migrants seeking assistance.

The shift in policies in these cities comes despite their status as self-declared sanctuary cities. The Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for stricter immigration control, identifies these cities as having policies that limit federal immigration authorities’ ability to detain illegal migrants.

Texas has been a focal point in the national debate over immigration, with Governor Greg Abbott launching Operation Lone Star to manage the influx of migrants. Abbott’s administration has been bussing migrants to sanctuary cities, arguing that these cities should share the burden. Texas officials assert that the Biden administration’s policies have exacerbated the crisis, and they will continue bussing migrants until federal actions are taken to secure the southern border.

Andrew Mahaleris, a spokesperson for Governor Abbott, criticized the sanctuary cities for their perceived hypocrisy. He stated, “These cities are only dealing with a fraction of what our small border communities deal with daily.” He added that the real crisis is at the southern border, where illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and weapon smuggling have surged.

As the debate over immigration policies continues, these cities are adjusting their approaches to manage the growing number of migrants and the associated financial burdens, highlighting the complex and contentious nature of the immigration issue in the United States.