Cities Forced to Cut Services to Deal With Migrant Crisis

News & Politics

It’s getting more difficult for cities to continue funding services at current levels when there are 30,000 to 90,000 new arrivals all needing food and shelter.

Denver, which has more migrants per capita than any other city, announced $5 million in cuts to city services for starters. The city has already spent $180 million to care for migrants. 


Chicago has cut the transit budget by 30% with 25% cuts in services and fare hikes.

In big cities across the country, Democratic mayors are begging Joe Biden for assistance. Biden says it’s the fault of Congress for not appropriating the money. But the executive has a lot of discretion in how to allocate some funds. And Biden finds it politically expedient to ignore the calls for help from his Democratic brethren and try to hide the crisis from the rest of the voters.

Chicago is typical.


The city’s 2024 spending plan sets aside just $150 million to house, feed and care for the men, women and children sent to Chicago from the southern border — less than half of what city officials expected to spend in 2023 to care for the migrants who arrived in Chicago after fleeing political instability and economic collapse before requesting asylum.

There were approximately 14,700 people in city shelters, with approximately 350 people waiting at O’Hare International Airport, the police station in Pilsen and at the area designated for buses from Texas to drop off the migrants while waiting for a bed as of Friday morning, according to city data.

Despite Johnson’s pleas for more help from the state and federal officials, the crisis appears to be entering a new, more chaotic phase, with border crossings rising to record highs and Abbott vowing to defy new city rules governing where and when buses arriving from Texas can drop off migrants in Chicago.

It’s even worse in New York City. Mayor Adams was able to reverse about $200 million of proposed cuts but more are coming.


City and State:

The city reversed about $200 million in proposed spending cuts – only about 5.5% of the proposed $3.7 billion in PEG [program to eliminate the gap] savings over two years. The reality is that the city could reverse those and balance this and next year’s budget because: revenues were stronger; and the city was reining in another $2.9 billion of spending over two years elsewhere, including reducing spending on services to migrants and asylum-seekers and assuming the state would increase its support for migrants.  

Robbing Peter to pay Paul is never a good idea in government budgeting. Both Peter and Paul usually end up robbing the taxpayer.

Denver, Chicago, and New York City are all cutting the budgets for migrants. Chicago wants to kick migrants out of shelters after 60 days. Denver is making it easy for migrants to leave the city for somewhere else. New York is the worst off with few shelter beds and a growing migrant crime problem.

Joe Biden surveys the damage he’s doing to American cities and tries to blame Republicans. It’s not going to work. The Democratic mayors of big cities will still be begging for help by election day. 

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