Residents of a Colorado city packed a council meeting Monday night to express outrage at the prospect of becoming a sanctuary for migrants crossing the southern border, although officials have formally denied such an effort.

The city of Lakewood is located just a few miles from the state capital, Denver, and the two cities often help each other. However, when Denver declared it would open its doors and become a sanctuary for immigrants, Lakewood did not. As the shelters Denver opened for immigrants reached capacity, the crisis now appears to be falling into Lakewood’s hands.

Monday’s city council meeting comes as officials have expressed a desire to help their neighbor and as Lakewood was weighing whether to accept a federal grant it was offered for a facility to help the city’s homeless.

Residents have expressed concern that it could be used to shelter migrants in the city, bringing the border crisis to their community, and subsequently urged officials to use the shelter to help Lakewood residents and not Denver migrants. .

DENVER SCHOOLS BORED BY SWAVE OF MIGRANTS AS MAYOR CUT $5M FROM PUBLIC SERVICES TO ADDRESS CRISIS

Residents, city officials.

Residents of Lakewood, Colorado, attend a city council meeting Monday night to address a federal grant they fear could help house immigrants. (FoxNews)

Many residents also expressed concerns to the city council Monday night that immigrants could overwhelm the city’s hospitals and infrastructure and increase crime. Residents also said they were concerned about how their tax money would be used to pay immigrants.

During Monday night’s city council meeting, City Manager Kathy Hodgson said there were no plans to house immigrants in Lakewood.

Residents also said they were concerned about a meeting Lakewood government officials held last month with Denver officials where they discussed the immigration crisis.

The purpose of the meeting was how Lakewood could help with the immigration crisis, although there is no official plan for how the city would do help and that any assistance would be voluntary, Hodgson explained.

DENVER MAYOR BLAMES REPUBLICANS AND TRUMP FOR $5 MILLION CUTS TO PAY FOR MIGRANT CRISIS

He said officials discussed “how Lakewood can learn about the migrant crisis and discuss potential opportunities to partner as a good neighbor, responding to the growing migrant population coming to Denver.”

“The situation is quite fluid in nature. So, at that time, we learned that last year, Denver had received more than 38,000 newly arrived immigrants. And this is since December 2022, about 200 arrivals per day,” he said . “That’s what we learned. Denver had spent approximately $46 million on the newly arrived immigrant shelter and associated support in 2023, securing housing for 4,000 people through 900 leases and providing more than 700,000 meals. Its average cost has been approximately $4 million per month Denver “Indicated at the time that they anticipate costs for 2024 to be approximately $180 million.”

Migrants sleeping

Migrants on sleeping mats at a makeshift shelter in Denver on January 13, 2023. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

However, Denver is not looking to move its immigrants to the Lakewood facility, he said.

“Because newly arrived immigrants have stopped being placed in shelters, Lakewood is not being asked for support in hotels, motels or congregate housing,” Hodgson explained. “Denver is initiating what is called a coordinated entry program, which is dispersing groups of immigrants to willing cities across the country and outside of the Denver metropolitan area.”

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston, a Democrat, is sending migrants across the country through Denver’s Onward Travel program, the city manager said.

800 MIGRANT FAMILIES ARE PULLED FROM DENVER SHELTERS AS CITY APPROACHES BREAKING POINT

“About half of new arrivals deliberately choose to be relocated. Today, Denver has purchased about 19,000 migrant transportation tickets in 2023, costing more than 5 million, which is an average of about 300 dollars per ticket,” he explained.

Neighbors raising their hands

Attendees raise their hands at a city council meeting in Lakewood on February 6, 2024. (Aarón Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Hodgson reiterated, “Lakewood has no role in this program and has not been asked to participate in the future travel program. The goal is to reach cities outside of the Denver metro region.”

Monday night’s city council meeting came after an emergency community meeting last Tuesday, when hundreds of residents voiced similar complaints.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Resident Karen Morgan, who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, said Lakewood has not used the word “sanctuary,” but has used words like “good neighbor, welcoming, inclusive, supportive, shelter,” FOX31 reported.

“One definition of sanctuary is the condition of being protected or comforted. Synonym: refuge,” he added.

By Sam