The Ongoing Costs of Denver Migrants

Article author: 
DJ Summers
Article publisher: 
Common Sense Institute
Article date: 
4 June 2024
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 


Since December 2022, Denver became a major destination for migrants [illegal alien invaders] arriving through the southern border from South and Central American countries. About 42,000 migrants have arrived in the Denver metro area since December 2022, about 1,800 of which have now been authorized to work as a result of city-led efforts. The city estimates roughly half have remained in the metro area. The Common Sense Institute estimates city, education, and healthcare organizations have spent an estimated $216 million to $340 million on the response to feed, clothe, shelter, and provide educational and healthcare services.

The countries with the most significant number of people entering the U.S. are primarily Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. As recorded by the City of Denver’s contracts with non-profit organizations, state government, and federal government, the migrants arriving in the city have been met with an abundance of resources that have further catalyzed the crises being faced by Denver metro school districts and hospitals.

Key Findings

  • City, education, and healthcare costs for migrants since December 2022 total an estimated $216 million to $340 million.
  • School Districts
    • In total, since December 2022, the 17 school districts in the Denver metro area have had a combined growth of 15,725 migrant students.
      • 44% came from Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
    • Denver Public Schools saw a growth of 5,322 migrant students, 55% of whom were from Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
      • This is 6% of the 2023-24 DPS student enrollment, or 3% from the five listed countries alone.
    • At $14,100 in instruction support per student, the number of students the Denver metro school districts absorbed from the five countries will cost $98 million.
    • The total cost to Denver metro schools related to new migrant students is $98 million to $222 million, which would equate to 1-2% of the total state K-12 education budget for the 2024-25 academic year.

  • Hospitals
    • In the Denver metro area, hospitals spend about $2,931 in uncompensated care per migrant.
    • Emergency departments have delivered an estimated $48 million in uncompensated care to migrants.

  • City of Denver
    • The City has spent about $71 million on all support services. These include but are not limited to:
      • Facilities and hotels for temporary shelter
      • Housing assistance up to six months of rent
      • Transportation
      • Food distribution
      • Childcare ...