Mayor Michael Hancock issued an emergency declaration for the city and county of Denver on Thursday in response to the influx of migrants who have arrived in the city over the past 10 days.
Since Monday, 247 migrants have made their way to Denver through various modes of transportation. Hancock reiterated that the poeple were coming either on their own or at the encouragement of nonprofit organizations at the border that have provided recommendations for other places they can go without advanced notice. Many have made their way to Denver via El Paso, Texas.
The declaration alerts Gov. Jared Polis that the city and county of Denver is enacting a state of local emergency, and therefore allows the city, businesses and residents to apply for funding from the federal and state governments.
“What I don’t want to see is a local humanitarian crisis of unsheltered migrants on our hands because of a lack of resources,” Hancok said.
A majority of the migrants who have arrived in Denver are from Venezuela, fleeing a political and humanitarian crisis in their home country.
Colorado’s immigrant nonprofits said they have been warning about this influx of migrants coming to the state for a variety of reasons, but top state officials haven’t taken the need seriously enough. One of the reasons cited for this influx is the Biden administration’s application of Title 42, which doesn’t allow Venezuelans to seek asylum at a port of entry but instead requires they do it from their own country.
Not all of the migrants who have arrived in Denver will make the city their last permanent location, with some just stopping through until they can get to their final destinations.
The seven-day emergency declaration, which can be extended, states that 300 migrants have come to Denver in the past week — and a total of 600 over the last six months — without immediate plans for shelter, an influx that’s expected to continue.
600 migrants have come to Denver over the past three months without immediate plans for shelter, and the number of migrants who arrived in the past week has totaled half of that, and it’s expected to continue. The city has had to halt programming at two recreation centers in order to accommodate the migrants, and other church groups and nonprofits also have opened up space.
At a news conference Thursday, Hancock urged nonprofits, faith groups and volunteers to help as they can. He said the migrants’ arrival was putting a strain on city resources and it’s not easy to reunite people with their families.
The system would have broken had it not been for the churches, nonprofits and individuals that stepped up, Hancock said, but “we need more, obviously.”
Hancock said the city already has spent about $800,000 on these operations, and with the cold winter months ahead and resources needed to help, the city will require additional funding.
This is a developing story and will be updated.