DENVER (CBS4) – Immigration experts reacted on Sunday to Denver’s plan to possibly shelter and care for migrant children who have entered the country illegally by the tens of thousands since the fall.

Last week, Mayor Michael Hancock’s office said it’s considering applying for a three-year, $4 million federal grant that would help the city house the children. Jared Polis, a U.S. House representative from Colorado’s second district, also favors allowing migrants into the state.

RELATED: Polis, Hancock Would Welcome Child Refugees To Denver

But experts are split on the benefits.

“This really is a humanitarian crisis and we need to take action to change it,” David Inserra of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, told CBS4.

Dr. Jason Brennan, a Georgetown University professor, said that the influx of immigrants could benefit the country in the long run.

“One of the worries is the cost. Children are a net tax lost. You’re paying education and so on up front,” Brennan said. “The question is what they do when they’re older. They’ll probably start working and become net tax payers over the course of their lifetime. I think if you do this the right way, it could be in the country’s self-interest.”

Meanwhile, Inserra said allowing children into the country creates a dangerous precedent.

“We need to make sure we’re sending an appropriate message that if you come to the United States illegally we won’t let you stay,” he said. “Right now, our policies are allowing these kids to stay and while it might feel humanitarian right now, it’s encouraging additional waves.”

Hancock said, “In Denver, we care about kids,” adding that the children are “victims of a humanitarian crisis.”

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