Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, issued the declaration as several hundred illegal aliens, mostly from Central and South America, have arrived in the state in just the past few days alone.
“Let me be frank: This influx of migrants, the unanticipated nature of their arrival, and our current space and staffing challenges have put an immense strain on city resources to the level where they’re on the verge of reaching a breaking point at this time,” Hancock said at a news conference on Thursday.
“What I don’t want to see is a local humanitarian crisis of unsheltered migrants on our hands because of a lack of resources,” the mayor added.
According to Hancock’s office, more than 900 aliens have arrived in Denver over the past several months, including more than 600 people since Dec. 2.
Another 247 aliens have arrived since Monday alone, while 75 turned up at a local homeless shelter overnight on Thursday evening, according to his office.
Denver ‘On the Verge of Reaching Breaking Point’
Approximately 404 aliens are currently being accommodated in the city’s emergency shelters, including 102 at church and nonprofit shelter sites, the mayor’s office said.
The “anticipated nature” of the arrival of the influx of illegal aliens has placed extreme pressure on the city’s efforts to shelter them, leading to limited space which is being further exacerbated by a lack of staffing, Hancock’s office said during Thursday’s news conference, noting that winter weather was set to make the situation worse.
Hancock added that Denver is currently “at the level where we are on the verge of reaching breaking point at this time.”
“The declaration is another tool in the toolbox to help serve the increasing number of migrants arriving in Denver, particularly as winter weather sets in,” Hancock said.
Under the emergency declaration, Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, will be alerted that Denver is enacting a state of emergency.
Denver will then be able to access additional emergency resources to help manage the influx of aliens, and will also be able to continue requesting financial assistance from various funding sources.
Hancock said that, together with community partners, and the help of local churches and nonprofits, the city continues to provide aliens—the majority of which are coming to the city having entered the United States through El Paso, Texas—with emergency shelter.
Hancock Takes Aim at Biden Admin
Denver has already forked out more than $800,000 on the illegal alien sheltering effort, and that number is expected to increase significantly.
A majority of the aliens who have arrived in Denver are from Venezuela, according to Hancock, and are fleeing a political and humanitarian crisis in their home country.
The mayor took aim at the Biden administration for failing to address the “critical situation” or respond adequately, despite being aware of it.
“It is at a crisis point right now and cities all over this country are being forced to deal with something we’re not equipped to deal with,” he said.
The mayor’s declaration comes shortly before the end of the Trump-era Title 42 program that allowed Border Patrol agents to turn illegal aliens back to their country immediately if they were deemed to pose a health threat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Title 42, which helped stem the tide of illegal immigration and has been used millions of times to expel aliens since March 2020, is set to end on Dec. 21.
The Department of Homeland Security has unveiled a plan (pdf) to help deal with the influx of migrants attempting to enter the United States once Title 42 is dropped, including closing gaps along the southwest border wall, creating more temporary detention tents, and increasing prosecutions of smugglers.
However, the department has said that it expects around 9,000 to 14,000 illegal aliens to cross the border daily.