Former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Michael Brown, who’s best known for bungling the federal emergency response to Hurricane Katrina and being praised for it by then-President George W. Bush, criticized Colorado Democrats last week for their request for disaster relief funds to address the migrant crisis in Denver.
Brown, who is known as ‘Michael Heck-of-a-job Brownie,’ argues that Denver is facing a political, not a man-made natural disaster, and therefore the city does not meet the criteria for a FEMA intervention. FEMA is authorized under the Stafford Act to respond to both man-made and natural disasters.
In a recent interview on KOA radio Brown was candid about his views on the request by Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Michael Bennet, stating, “I think the congressman and the senators are nuts.”
“Now we can play semantics all day long,” said Brown on air. “But this is not a man-made disaster. This is a political disaster.”
Contrasting sharply with Brown’s perspective, Bennet has been vocal about the urgent need for federal support. In a separate interview on KOA radio, Bennet stated why the migrant crisis is a man-made disaster.
“This is the result of a national failure to fix our immigration system,” stated Bennet on air.
“We haven’t heard back from [FEMA] yet,” said Bennet. “But my hope is that in the short term, they’re able to provide funding to Denver and to Colorado to cover these costs, which are not legitimately Denver or Colorado’s cause.”
The Democrats’ request for FEMA assistance, as detailed in a letter sent to the agency, emphasizes the extraordinary circumstances Denver and Colorado face. The letter argues that the migrant situation has placed an unprecedented strain on local resources, necessitating federal intervention.
As Denver continues to grapple with the growing migrant crisis, the debate over federal funding remains at the forefront of this challenging situation.
Yesterday, Bennet along with Denver Mayor Michael Johnston, and U.S. Representatives Brittany Pettersen (D-CO), and Jason Crow (D-CO) called on Congress to take action to fix the country’s immigration system, which is widely seen as broken, and to help Colorado and communities across the nation support migrants.
“We have to recognize that our asylum system is in desperate need of being revamped,” said Pettersen in a news release. “This is an issue that is hitting communities, not just in Denver, but it’s also coming to my community, and across Colorado and the nation. This should not be a partisan tactic on winning elections. This is something that we have to come together on in a bipartisan way.”
Johnston said Denver is facing a humanitarian and fiscal crisis due to the arrival of over 37,000 migrants, which have cost the city over $38 million.
“Like many cities in America, Denver is a vibrant, thriving city full of generous folks who want to see everyone succeed. We are also a city right now that is facing a humanitarian crisis and a fiscal crisis unlike anything we’ve seen in the last 25 years. That is a result of the ongoing influx of migrant arrivals who are seeking asylum in America and the system that is not adequately helping them succeed,” said Johnston in a news release. “I am delighted to be here today with our delegation who has worked so hard to support us and to make sure that we can get bipartisan support out of Congress to take on this challenge and deliver a humanitarian solution that would give us the right to work, federal support, and a coordinated plan for entry.”