DENVER (KDVR) — More than 27,000 migrants have arrived in the city since last December.
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston visited a migrant shelter on Saturday and spoke with FOX31 about what the city is doing to get work permits for many who are waiting for the opportunity.
The Mayor’s visit was met with disappointment from some migrants who are staying at the shelter, while Johnston said the process to get them legal work permits could be made quicker.
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston brought updates with him to a local shelter, directly from the nation’s capital.
“What we found when I was at the white house talking to leaders in D.C. about this is that we asked them to make some changes on work authorizations and they did make some,” Johnston said.
By “some,” Johnston is talking about migrants who arrived in the States before July 31 who may acquire their work permits in a quicker process.
That work permit has been an obstacle for migrant families who are eager to earn a living and get off the streets.
“What the White House shared with us is about 80% of the people in the country who have that ability to apply for work authorization have not yet,” Johnston said.
That will apply to thousands of migrants who have been in the country and, according to Johnston, it could apply to potentially many more.
“We’re optimistic today we’re going to be really accelerating that work authorization and work approval so people that are here can get to work can save up the money they need to get their own apartment and pay for their own bills, which is what they’re hoping to do,” Johnston said.
Some migrants weren’t pleased with just stats and info.
One woman, who asked not to be identified, said she expected more than what the mayor’s visit offered. She came to the U.S. with her husband and three children.
The mayor’s visit only yielded stats, the woman said, staff took phone numbers but the woman said that guarantees nothing.
She said she hoped they would ask about their individual situations, if they needed an attorney, they’d provide one, if they were living outside in a tent, she hoped they would offer a path to find a home.
Johnston said the city has resources to care for migrants living in the streets, but only in specific circumstances.
“We do have cold weather protocols that would allow people that are outside to get inside during emergencies,” Johnston said.
The city’s priority will be migrants with children.
“We are, in cases where we have families, that are timing out of the shelter, but they’re a week or two weeks away from being able to get into an apartment, we’re trying to help them have a bridge, access to housing,” Johnston said.
The issue is one that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon the city’s website reports 117 migrants arrived in the city Saturday alone.