Sep 28, 2022 - News

What to know about the migrants arriving in Denver from the border

Illustration of a migrant woman with her young child walking towards stars and stripes

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Immigrant advocacy groups in the Denver area are scrambling to prepare for 50-100 migrants expected to arrive next month from the U.S.-Mexico border.

What's happening: Migrants are coming to Colorado as the southern border is facing an influx, overwhelming local shelters in southern states such as Texas.

  • Local advocates tell Axios Denver they are struggling to find adequate resources, including housing, for the anticipated arrivals.
  • Newcomers include migrants from Venezuela, a group that is crossing the border in record numbers to escape the country's political, social and economic crises. People from Cuba and Nicaragua are also anticipated to arrive in Colorado.
  • Unlike other migrants, those being transported in October have no connection here, said Jennifer Piper of the American Friends Service Committee, one of the agencies helping migrants relocate.

The intrigue: Piper said given the current political climate, it's "inevitable" that more immigrants will be sent to Denver.

  • "We're trying to create a system now in Denver where nonprofits and homeless shelters know that this is happening so they can contact us for support," Piper told Axios Denver.

By the numbers: For the last year and a half, the state has typically had one to two migrants arrive monthly.

  • That figure grew closer to nine to 10 people each month over the past two months, Piper said.

What they're saying: "The people who are arriving here without any contacts don't have anywhere to go," Denise Chang, executive director at the Colorado Hosting Asylum Network, told Axios Denver.

Details: Local agencies, including Casa de Paz, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and Colorado Hosting Asylum Network, are working together to prepare.

  • On Tuesday, Chang was working to get a migrant family from Venezuela temporarily housed.
  • The partnering agencies are trying to find families that can host migrants, and using limited funds to find apartments, which Chang said can be difficult since the people arriving don't have any rental history.
  • The agencies are hoping to have a number of churches and temples lined up to help provide temporary housing.

Of note: Last Thursday, a migrant family sought assistance from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless offices in downtown Denver, the agency confirmed to Axios Denver.

  • The agency doesn't typically work with migrants, according to spokesperson Cathy Alderman, who said the family was connected to the Red Cross and the American Friends Service Committee.
  • Alderman added that the family had paperwork from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, showing they had been released from a facility in Texas.
  • The episode illustrated how migrants are being sent to places that cannot immediately assist them, causing further confusion to people unfamiliar with their new surroundings.

The other side: A spokesperson for the U.S. Border Patrol — which NBC News reported is working with local governments to coordinate where to send migrants — did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock's office confirmed it is aware that migrants are arriving but offered little detail.

Yes, but: The migrants arriving in Denver aren't connected to busing efforts by Republican governors that have garnered national attention, local advocates tell Axios Denver.

  • A spokesperson for Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott's office told Axios the state is only busing migrants to Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago.

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