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Migrant takeover: Sanctuary cities lose ground as migrants gain power due to controversial Texas measure

Thanks to the many controversial policies taken to curb illegal immigration along the Texas-Mexico border, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been in the spotlight and has emerged as one of the most prominent political figures nationwide since Joe Biden took over the White House office. One can either like Gov. Abbott or not, but despite the controversy surrounding Operation Lone Star, Texas has in recent weeks managed to secure the border and lower the number of immigrants trying to illegally cross the border, forcing them to seek alternative entry points mostly through California.

Clashes with the Biden administration

Gov. Abbott, a vocal Republican, has consistently criticized the Biden administration and the federal government over the years for not providing much-needed help for border security. After millions of migrants and more than three years later, Abbott’s policies appear to have yielded the desired results, as multiple reports have confirmed a significant decrease in migrant encounters across all Texas sectors. In achieving the successes, Abbott faced a lot of obstacles, including several lawsuits and legal battles with the federal government, further worsening the ruined relations.

A set of controversial measures

Texas taxpayers completely funded Operation Lone Star, incurring a cost of several billion dollars for the implementation of various measures. These measures include installing floating barriers, hundreds of miles of razor wire, building a border wall, increasing the number of state soldiers to monitor the border, and many other smaller actions that went unnoticed but raised the cost of the operation. One of the most expensive measures, part of Operation Lone Star, is probably the most controversial one, transporting migrants in sanctuary cities across the nation. This has sparked a lot of debate, but despite huge opposition, Abbott continues with his plans. Since its launch, this measure alone has cost around $150 million.

Sanctuary cities under scrutiny

Sanctuary cities are already grappling with the challenges posed by the sudden influx of migrants, catching them off guard, particularly due to Texas Gov. Abbott’s actions. These cities are now putting various rules in place to manage the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants. Denver, Colorado, is among these cities facing such issues. Just last week, a group of asylum seekers in Denver refused to leave their camp and move into shelters. Instead, they presented a list of 13 demands they want the city to meet before they agree to relocate.

The migrants stated they would not move until their detailed list, which includes requests for a free immigration attorney and fresh cooking ingredients, is fulfilled. These demands are now a key part of their ongoing discussions with Denver’s Human Services Department, as reported by Fox 31.

A group of asylum seekers in Denver refused to leave their camp and move into shelters. They sent a list of 13 demands to city officials
Migrants at the border, credit: Deposit Photos

The program

Last month, Denver’s Democratic Mayor Mike Johnston started the Asylum Seekers Program. This initiative houses new migrants in city-funded shelters, providing them with rent and food assistance for six months, along with free legal services for their asylum claims while they wait for work permits. However, city officials have faced pushback from a group of migrants, including families living under a bridge and next to railroad tracks.

These migrants have various demands, including the ability to cook their meals with “fresh, culturally appropriate ingredients” supplied by the city, rather than pre-prepared meals. They specifically requested rice, chicken, flour, oil, butter, tomatoes, and onions.

A group of asylum seekers in Denver refused to leave their camp and move into shelters. They sent a list of 13 demands to city officials
Texas troops securing the border, Courtesy of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott X

More requests

Their document also addresses hygiene, asking for access to showers “available without time limits” and usable whenever needed. “We are not in the military, we are civilians,” they emphasized. Among their most urgent concerns, they insist that families should not be separated and that all shelter residents should receive employment assistance, including help with work permit applications for those who qualify.

A group of asylum seekers in Denver refused to leave their camp and move into shelters. They sent a list of 13 demands to city officials
Migrants at the California border, Credit: Unsplash

The full list of requests

This is the complete list of 13 demands:

  1. Migrants will cook their own food with fresh, culturally appropriate ingredients provided by the City instead of premade meals — rice, chicken, flour, oil, butter, tomatoes, onions, etc. … Also people will not be punished for bringing in & eating outside food.
  2. Shower access will be available without time limits & can be accessed whenever — we are not in the military, we’re civilians.
  3. Medical professional visits will happen regularly & referrals/connections for specialty care will be made as needed.
  4. All will receive the same housing support that has been offered to others. They cannot kick people out in 30 days without something stable established.
  5. There needs to be a clear, just process before exiting someone for any reason — including verbal, written & final warnings.
  6. All shelter residents will receive connection to employment support, including work permit applications for those who qualify.
  7. Consultations for each person/family with a free immigration lawyer must be arranged to discuss/progress their cases, & then the City will provide on-going legal support in the form of immigration document clinics & including transportation to relevant court dates.
  8. The City will provide privacy for families/individuals within the shelter.
  9. No more verbal or physical or mental abuse will be permitted from the staff, including no sheriff sleeping inside & monitoring 24/7 — we are not criminals & won’t be treated as such.
  10. Transportation for all children to & from their schools will be provided until they finish in 3 weeks.
  11. No separating families, regardless of if family members have children or not. The camp will stay together.
  12. The City must schedule a meeting with the Mayor & those directly involved in running the Newcomer program ASAP to discuss further improvements & ways to support migrants.
  13. The City must provide all residents with a document signed by a City official in English & Spanish with all of these demands that includes a number to call to report mistreatment.

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