Newly Arrived Illegal Immigrants Take Shelter Space from Locals

Last week, Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade appeared on Facebook Live. His video comments were about the arrival of 21 illegal immigrant families (around 70 people total) in Colorado Springs. Here’s the video. Never once did the mayor call the new arrivals “illegal immigrants.” He called them “migrants.”

He declared Colorado Springs is not a sanctuary city but didn’t tell the illegal immigrants to stay out of Colorado Springs or suggest that local shelters turn them away. One of his last comments was, “The federal government needs to step up to ensure that that they’re taking care of, we’re not just taking care of the border crisis, but perhaps we can be proactive also in helping these families that are looking for help and opportunity.”

Mobolade stated that he was made aware of the new arrivals through a January 28th voicemail from Doug Hanson with the Salvation Army. As you would expect, we immediately filed a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request for that voicemail. 

Here is the transcript of Hanson’s voicemail to Mobolade. You can listen to the voicemail, in its entirety here. Jack Briggs is the Chief Executive Officer of the Springs Rescue Mission.

Hey, Mayor Yemi! This is Captain Doug over at the Salvation Army. I just talked with the Homeless Outreach Team at the city and with Jack Briggs and a few of my counterparts in Denver. We’re seeing just a lot of migrant families. Not so much singles, but families. I think my concern that I wanted you to be aware of is just the relationship with the City of Denver and the City of Colorado Springs when it comes to migrants kinda coming down here and frankly the process seems a little bit of a fumble. I mean I know they have a ton of money up there for migrant families. And well I’ve discovered a handful of things that made me want to call you just to make sure that you are aware of this. If you would like to talk just briefly in between one of your meetings. I know you’re in D.C. right now. I’d be willing to do that- happy to do that, but I just wanna make sure that you are aware that we’re seeing an influx of homeless families, in particular, since the end of December. So, just in these last 3 weeks. What it’s causing us to do is we’ve filled up with more migrant families. So, we’re saying no…I mean they’re obviously…they take a spot from a local citizen. And they’re all coming from Denver- likeon a bus – before we can even say we have space for them- they’re already…they’re just pumping them down here from Denver. So, I thought you should know that and I would love to hear your advice as to if we need to modify policy. If you have time, love to give you a call. If not, hopefully, this voicemail gives you enough glimpse into an increase in migrant families- very particularly, all of the families we’ve seen which is about 21 families or about 70 people just in the last 3 weeks. They’re all from Venezuela. Just more info for you. Alright. Hope you’re well. Bye.

The Salvation Army opened the R.J. Montgomery Family Hope Center on Sierra Madre St in May of 2023. According to this article, the shelter was full within days of opening. There’s obviously a high demand for family shelters in Colorado Springs. Hanson from the Salvation Army was clearly asking for the mayor’s input about what to do.  Hanson voiced concerns that the illegal immigrants were taking shelter space away from local citizens.

We reached out to several local representatives for comments about the voicemail.

“The information in the voicemail is concerning, particularly because it indicates that those crossing our open borders and making their way here from Denver are preventing local families and children in need from being served. This may be a non-profit, but they have utilized tax dollars to build this shelter, according to the organization, and that means they should serve the intended purpose of serving this community, not harboring those here illegally”.

El Paso County Commissioner Carrie Geitner

“I’m greatly concerned that our local families in need are getting turned away from shelters as a fault of the failing sanctuary policies and virtue signaling by Denver and our governor. Their poor leadership and the resulting spillover effects of illegal immigration to Colorado are punishing our own citizens and legal residents. It’s time they join the majority of Americans who demand that President Biden secure the border and enforce our laws.”

El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, Jr.

“The mayor’s public statements since receiving the voicemail from Captain Doug Hanson of the Salvation Army have suggested that he (the mayor) doesn’t know how the illegal immigrants are getting here – however in the voicemail he is clearly told they are being “pumped down here…on a bus…from Denver”. Why act like we don’t know how they are getting here? During the voicemail the mayor is also told that these “Venezuelan” families take a “spot from a local citizen” and is asked for advice on whether the Salvation Army should “modify policy”. In his statements the mayor has adopted a stance that the nonprofits are acting independently – when actually this one is asking for his advice on what they should do with their policies.  The mayor also continues to say that 21 families have arrived in Colorado Springs. The voicemail states that “21 families, 70 people” have arrived (at the Salvation Army alone). Are we not mentioning the “70 people” part of the call because that is a larger number? More importantly, what are the new numbers of illegal immigrants that are being housed in our city? The numbers the mayor is quoting are at least twelve days old, and may be older. Are we asking for current information? The Citizens of Colorado Springs deserve transparency and accurate information on what the mayor and his staff know, what guidance they are giving nonprofits, and what their “contingency plans” are”.

Colorado Springs City Councilman Dave Donelson

Here are our predictions.

  • Colorado Springs will see many more illegal immigrant families and individuals bused into the city. Denver shelters started kicking them out onto the streets on February 5th, so they are looking for new beds and more taxpayer-funded assistance.
  • Mayor Mobolade will pursue federal funding to support the illegal immigrants arriving into Colorado Springs. Rather than kick them out, he’s going to pursue our federal taxpayer dollars to support the crisis.
  • We expect to see city services and hospitals strained by the new arrivals. Also, homeless service providers will have to deal with both illegal immigrants and homeless citizens.  
  • Further down the road, brace yourself for more affordable housing developments in your neighborhoods. Colorado passed laws in 2021 that allow illegal immigrants to be eligible for affordable housing and food assistance. Thousands of illegal immigrants moving into Colorado will only make the housing shortage worse.  

What can you do?

Reach out to the Colorado Springs Mayor and City Council and give them your opinion. The burden on taxpayers is too great. The mayor should send the illegal immigrants packing and stop welcoming new arrivals. We hear Santa Fe or Albuquerque are nice options…and they’re sanctuary cities. Let our public servants know it’s okay to use our taxpayer funds for the bus fares, as well as brown-bag lunches for the trip.

Mayor Yemi Mobolade  yemi.mobolade@coloradosprings.gov

Yolanda Avila  Yolanda.Avila@coloradosprings.gov

Lynette Crow-Iverson   lynette.crow-iverson@coloradosprings.gov

Dave Donelson   Dave.Donelson@coloradosprings.gov

Randy Helms   Randy.Helms@coloradosprings.gov

Nancy Henjum   Nancy.Henjum@coloradosprings.gov

David Leinweber   david.leinweber@coloradosprings.gov

Mike O’Malley   Mike.OMalley@coloradosprings.gov

Brian Risley    brian.risley@coloradosprings.gov

Michelle Talarico   michelle.talarico@coloradosprings.gov

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