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Governor claims dozens of illegal immigrants sent to Utah from Denver without approval

Governor Spencer Cox
Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 14, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — Illegal immigrants have been sent to Utah from the city of Denver without local officials being aware or approving of the actions, according to statements from Governor Spencer Cox and his office.

In a social media post Friday, Cox accused Denver Mayor Mike Johnston, a Democrat, of sending the immigrants who are in the process of being allowed in the country to Utah without approval, calling the move "completely unacceptable."

When contacted by FOX 13 News, a spokesperson for Cox's office said they learned of the sending of immigrants to Salt Lake City on May 13.

"Denver did not consult with us prior to instigating this practice. We have now been told that 59 people have been bussed or flown to Salt Lake in the past 30 days," said Jennifer Napier-Pearce.

The governor's office added that one group of immigrants was allegedly sent to Salt Lake City International Airport with no resources or anywhere to go.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall said she is aware of migrants arriving from Denver and has recently spoken with Johnston, adding that her office is regularly briefed from federal and local agencies.

While Mendenhall says Salt Lake City has tried to connect families without local resources, her office says a consistent message has been delivered that local emergency services and shelter space is currently at full capacity.

“More often, our metro area is seeing the arrival of families seeking asylum, who do not have existing connections or family in Utah. Contact and communication about their arrival would require other state and local governments or nonprofits outside Utah to connect with local service providers or officials in advance," said a spokesperson with Mendenhall's office. "Like many local governments working to navigate this increasing nationwide challenge, Utah does not have a formal entrance process for new arrivals, and often those who arrive in Salt Lake City spread out to locations across Salt Lake County and the region."

For his part, Cox is placing the blame on the Biden administration.

"All 50 states, including Utah, are now border states due to the failed immigration policies of President Biden and Congress," the governor wrote. "Once again we call on the Biden administration and Congress to solve this crisis."