Dec 9, 2022 - News

What we know — and don't — about the migrants arriving in Denver

Evan Dreyer, Mayor Michael Hancock's deputy chief of staff, stands inside the Emergency Operations Center inside the City and County Building on Thursday, Dec. 8. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios

The migrants who arrived in Denver this week were not sent by a government agency, but instead they coordinated across social media, city officials said Thursday.

Driving the news: At least 90 migrants arrived by bus Monday, leaving the city scrambling to find accommodations and prompting the activation of the emergency operations center.

  • Another 40 to 50 migrants arrived last weekend.

Details: Based on what city officials have heard from migrants, many communicated and organized on Facebook to travel to Denver.

  • The migrants are largely from Central and South America, including Venezuela.
  • On Tuesday, the city opened a recreational center as an emergency shelter to accommodate 120 people.

What they're saying: Evan Dreyer, Mayor Michael Hancock's deputy chief of staff, said Thursday he was unsure why they chose Denver.

  • Other migrants have gone to mountain communities, according to emergency management office spokesperson Mikayla Ortega.
  • Among the migrants were three to four children, per Mimi Scheuermann, chief operating officer at Denver Human Services

By the numbers: All told, at least 300 migrants have arrived in Denver over the past two months, Dreyer said.

  • The city expects that number to grow, though it's unclear by how many.

Context: Governors in states such as Texas or Florida have sent migrants to liberal cities like Denver, but there's "no evidence of that" in this case, Dreyer said Thursday.

  • The migrants were expected, and Dreyer said the city had seen "a slow, steady" number of arrivals — between 20 to 30 a day — over the past few months.

The intrigue: Denver officials are perplexed by the sudden jump in migrant arrivals.

  • In addition, their immigration status is unclear and it's unknown how long they intend to stay.

Zoom in: Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs director Atim Otii said the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund will help people seeking to permanently relocate in Denver.

  • Dreyer said the city is putting a call out to faith-based and nonprofit organizations for help.
  • The city is also asking people who are interested in making donations to visit its website, which has links to several nonprofits helping the city.
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