Denver Grapples with Migrant Influx

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As the city runs out of resources to support the influx, unique solutions are approached. (Image Credit: The Denver Post)

Denver, Colorado, is grappling with a surge in migrant arrivals as the city faces a continuous influx of individuals crossing the southern border into the United States. In less than 24 hours, sixteen busloads carrying migrants arrived in the city, prompting concerns about the strain on resources and the ability to provide adequate shelter and support.

The City of Denver, confirming details with CBS News Colorado, reported that nine busloads arrived on Thursday night, followed by an additional seven on Friday, bringing the total number of migrants in shelters to 3,800. This surge aligns with a trend of over 10,000 migrants crossing the southern border each day for the past three days.

The migrants, originating from countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, and Guatemala find themselves in an unfamiliar environment in Denver. The Zuni and Speer area, in particular, has seen an influx, raising concerns among local residents and workers. One woman, Gerena, shared her difficulties in attempting to assist the migrants, stating that her efforts were met with resistance and verbal abuse.

“We can run out of room; we can run out of resources. We are already limited as it is. It strains an already strained system even further,” warned Jon Ewing, spokesperson for Denver Human Services, as the city faces the challenge of accommodating the growing number of migrants.

With shelters reaching capacity, the City of Denver is actively working to find jobs and housing for the migrants to prevent anyone, especially children, from being left on the streets. However, challenges persist as resources struggle to keep pace with the increasing demand.

“We know that everything is much more difficult with a child. This is why we have given families more time. We don’t want children on the streets. We don’t want anyone on the streets,” emphasized Ewing.

Despite the city’s efforts, Gerena expressed gratitude for the assistance but stressed the need for faster resource allocation. Incidents of theft have added to the challenges faced by locals, with Gerena highlighting instances of property damage, such as stolen items from her workplace.

As the situation intensifies, there are indications that more busloads of migrants could arrive over the Christmas weekend. The city may have to open an additional shelter to accommodate the rising numbers, further amplifying the strain on local resources.

This influx is part of a broader crisis that spans two Denver mayors, costing the city at least $32 million and involving the issuance of approximately 14,000 bus tickets for migrants. Over the past year, more than 29,000 migrants, primarily from Venezuela, have sought assistance from the city.

The response to the crisis includes efforts by the City of Denver to hire on-call staff for Denver Human Services and present contracts to private companies to provide services to migrants. The Rose Community Foundation has played a role in organizing legal clinics to help migrants apply for temporary protected status and work permits.

As the city and philanthropic organizations work to address the challenges posed by this ongoing crisis, they are also planning initiatives such as toy drives for migrant children staying in shelters. The situation remains dynamic, with Denver and its residents navigating the complexities of providing support in the face of unprecedented migration.

Written by Ava LeFevre

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