DENVER (KDVR) — For the first time, another state has transported migrants to Denver, according to the city.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the migrants were dropped off near Civic Center Park on Thursday afternoon.
“Until the president and his administration step up and fulfill their constitutional duty to secure the border, the state of Texas will continue busing migrants to self-declared sanctuary cities like Denver to provide much-needed relief to our small border towns,” Abbott said in a statement.
Texas state officials organized the chartered bus with 41 migrants — a first for Denver, the city said. People had been arriving on commercial transportation until this first state-sponsored bus.
Mayor Michael Hancock pointed to the situation as a “humanitarian crisis” and rejected Abbott’s actions as a “stunt.”
“What none of us need is more political theater and partisan gamesmanship pitting jurisdictions against each other and exacerbating this situation instead of advocating for real solutions to this challenge,” Hancock said in a statement. “If Gov. Abbott thinks he’s going to win over allies to his cause here in Denver with this latest stunt, he’s going to be sorely mistaken. And we’re more than happy to send him the bill for any additional support we have to provide now because of his failure at managing his own state.”
Under Abbott’s direction, migrants have also been sent to New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia, transporting more than 19,000 people to the major U.S. cities, according to his office.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Gov. Jared Polis pointed to specific actions recommended for the federal government.
“Governor Polis urges the federal government to secure the border, provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) work authorization permits for jobs, take action on immigration reform, and provide financial resources to non-border states to address this challenge and treat individuals and families fleeing oppression with dignity and respect. This challenge requires problem-solving and collaboration between cities, states, and the federal government, not politics as usual,” the statement reads.
Denver limits migrant sheltering, pleads for aid
Shelter capacity limits have been an issue in recent weeks with a sharp uptick in the number of people who arrived in Denver.
Five migrant shelters were housing 1,200 people as of Thursday afternoon, not including people who have not been processed yet, according to the city. That brings the total to more than 10,070 served since Dec. 9.
“The city is doing everything possible to ensure people are not unsheltered, especially given sudden changes in weather that often occur in Denver during the spring,” the city said.
With the end of Title 42 this month, Denver limited its shelter efforts to people who have been in contact with U.S. immigration officials. The pandemic-era federal rule suspended migrants’ right to asylum in the U.S. during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hancock and other U.S. mayors pleaded for federal aid in a recent letter to President Joe Biden. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also signed on.
Denver is set to receive $909,000 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help with emergency food and shelter for migrants. But the city said that’s not enough — Denver spent more than $14 million from December to early May, and the effort has only grown since.