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‘Hero Citizen’ led police to arrest 2 illegal immigrants planning 4th of July mass shooting

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Two illegal immigrants were stopped from carrying out a planned mass shooting at a Fourth of July celebration thanks to a tip from a “hero citizen.” Richmond, Virginia’s Chief of Police Gerald Smith announced the discovery during a press conference Wednesday.

“A hero citizen picked up the phone and overheard a conversation there was a mass shooting being planned here in the city of Richmond, Virginia,” said Smith. “One phone call saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July,” Smith said on Wednesday. “The success of this particular investigation can only be juxtaposed against the horrors of which the rest of the country has seen. There is no telling how many lives this hero citizen has saved from one phone call.”

The ’hero citizen’ called in the tip on July 1st, prompting police to investigate the suspects’ residence. Officers saw “evidence in plain view,” immediately corroborating the tip.

Officers seized two semi-automatic rifles and more than 200 rounds of ammunition. Police said they found evidence that Julio Alvarado-Dubon, 52, and Rolman Balacarcel, 38, were planning to attack the city’s Independence Day celebration at the Dogwood Deli amphitheater, and a city baseball game.

National Review reports Alvarado-Dubon was arrested and charged with being a non-U.S. citizen in possession of a firearm on Friday. Balacarcel, who is Alvarado-Dubon’s roommate, was arrested and charged on the same count on Tuesday after a weekend of police surveillance.

The two are being held without bond and police say both suspects may face additional charges. Police did not identify a motive for the attack.

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Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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