COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- This week you may have noticed a man along Interstate 25 in Colorado Springs holding an American flag and a sign that says “Illegals Not Welcome.”
Brett Dayberry, a longtime Colorado Springs resident, said he has been to multiple locations along I-25 this week, including the Colorado Springs sign near the North Gate exit and the Interquest bridge over the highway, to bring exposure and protest migrants coming from Denver to Colorado Springs.
“I want people that are coming from the north, potentially Denver coming into the Springs, to let them know this is how the Springs feels,” Dayberry said.
On Wednesday, KRDO13 Investigates saw Dayberry on the Academy bridge over I-25, so we asked him why he was protesting.
“When (Denver) started sending (migrants) down here affecting our community, that's when I said, ‘Hey, we got to shed some light on this issue,’” he said.
KRDO13 recently reported about 23 families, who self-identified as migrants, have come from Denver to Colorado Springs in the last four to five weeks. In response, El Paso County Commissioners said the county would not provide sanctuary for migrants. They said the migrant crisis is something El Paso County cannot handle financially.
Many of the county officials said they sympathize with the difficulties of migrant families, but the federal government has given false hope to migrants that they will find their needs met in the United States by not closing the border.
Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade also said he would not invite the crisis into the city and reiterated that Colorado Springs is not a sanctuary city. Dayberry said he’s worried an influx of migrants into Colorado Springs will affect resident safety.
“We got tens and tens of thousands coming across the border that we don't know anything about,” Dayberry said. “This issue has been so polarized and it's made it into racist this or that. Can we just have safety in our country? That's kind of how I look at it.”
While Dayberry protested on the bridge Wednesday morning, multiple cars passing below him honked their horns. One person even stopped on the bridge to thank him. He said thus far he hasn’t received any negative reaction.
“He saw the flag first and when I showed him the sign, he just put his thumbs up and said, ‘Hey, thanks for what you're doing,’” Dayberry said of the encounter.
KRDO13 confirmed the Salvation Army in Colorado Springs has seen several migrants come through its doors. Doug Hanson with the Salvation Army said the shelter has helped twenty-three families over the last four to five weeks, with each family averaging around three to four people.
Mobolade thanked the Salvation Army for stepping up to take care of these families, though he was also firm in saying Colorado Springs is not going to "adopt a crisis," meaning become a sanctuary city. Meanwhile, El Paso County commissioners urged nonprofits to not provide aid to migrants.
KRDO13 Investigates reached out to the Salvation Army for an update on the number of migrants it has served as well as ask if the nonprofit will continue to help migrants that come through its doors. They provided the following statement.
The Salvation Army is a nonpartisan, evangelical Christian, mission-driven organization responding to crises and to the needs of our communities. Because we're a church, The Salvation Army believes the Gospel commands and compels us to care for people in need without discrimination of any kind. That's not just an idea; it's our long-standing mission statement for over 150 years. We are there to serve all who are in need as long as we have the capacity to help, motivated by the love of God. The Salvation Army is proud to be the largest provider of sheltering for families experiencing homelessness in Colorado Springs. Immigrant-identifying families make up a very small proportion of the families we serve in our social services programs. To date 23 families have entered the shelter and have cycled through our program quickly enroute to another destination.Captain Doug Hanson, The Salvation Army Divisional Secretary for El paso County
Dayberry said he wasn’t sure how long he would protest along I-25, but said his next location may be the Salvation Army.
“When Denver and sanctuary cities like that chose to say, ‘Okay, we're going to be a sanctuary city,’ then you need to deal with the ramifications of that,” Dayberry said. “Colorado Springs doesn't need to deal with the ramifications of your decision.”