DENVER (KDVR) — A surge of migrants showed up in the Mile High City in the past week, and while the group’s origin is still unknown, assistance for them is being figured out.
Over the past two months, 300 migrants have come to Denver but the recent surge was significant, Mayor Michael Hancock’s Chief of Staff Evan Dreyer said in a news conference Thursday. They were dropped off in various locations and in various ways including Denver International Airport, Union Station by bus or personal vehicles and made their way to the Denver Rescue Mission.
The city is currently hosting 120 migrants at an emergency shelter that was opened after the recent influx. Dreyer said more migrants are arriving Thursday and the mayor’s office was given a heads up of 20 more, but that it will provide an accurate number later in the day.
Dreyer confirmed that the migrants are from Central and South America with a majority from Venezuela. It appears to have been organized among the group through social media. There is no evidence it was orchestrated by a particular government group, he said.
This is an ongoing situation and the city is working to accommodate more migrants making their way to Denver. Dreyer said other cities are believed to be dealing with the same trickle of migrants then experiencing a surge at some point.
Mimi Scheuermann, the chief operating officer at the Denver Human Services said migrants are being triaged to find out if Denver is their final destination or to help get them to where they are going. Sherman said an unconfirmed 30 people of the latest group have somewhere else than Denver as their final location. Three families with three or four children have been part of the migrant group, Scheuermann said.
The Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Atim Otii said the Denver Immigrants Legal Services Fund is available for the migrants with an extensive immigration law team for those looking to seek asylum. The fund is being held at the Denver Foundation and donations can be given on the site.
The city is still working to learn where the migrants originated from and will continue to work with nonprofits to utilize resources in order to provide the people with basic needs. The city said its priority continues to be the health and safety of the migrants.
Approximately 150 migrants show up in Denver
Approximately 150 newcomers ended up on Denver’s doorstep after being brought here in waves over the weekend and by bus on Tuesday. The influx of people to the Denver Rescue Mission put the location at capacity causing the city to open an emergency shelter.
The Office of Emergency Management said that the latest group is predominantly Venezuelan but most likely did not come here directly from their South American home. Some speculation suggested that the group came from Texas but nothing has been confirmed, as of yet.
FOX31 has been following the story and asked the governor’s office about aiding the city of Denver with accommodations and resources for the group. This statement was sent Thursday:
The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) within the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) and the Office of New Americans have been facilitating coordination calls and efforts since August with local government, local non-governmental organizations, state and federal partners focused on ensuring the safety of individuals arriving in Colorado.
The DHSEM Director notified the Governor’s Office of the update from the City and County of Denver last night. The SEOC is in communication with Denver OEM to discuss potential State assistance.
Mayor Hancock’s statement on the arrival
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock posted on Twitter Wednesday:
Many of you are aware that roughly 100 asylum-seekers and refugees arrived in our city yesterday. City staff and our network of compassionate service-provider partners worked swiftly to set up an emergency shelter to meet their immediate needs last night.
Denver is and always will be a welcoming community, and we will support these individuals and families with the humanity and dignity they deserve while facing such a difficult situation. Our priority is the health and safety of all our residents, including those who are migrants.
We will do what we can to provide for their needs at this time, including uniting them w/ friends, family, jobs & transportation to other destinations. We lead w/ compassion & we will never turn away from anyone looking to achieve a better life for themselves or their loved ones.Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
How to help the newcomers
Donations can be made to the Denver Community Church, American Friends Service Committee, or the Colorado Hosting Asylum Network. The city is also asking faith-based nonprofit groups and other community groups for help with the latest increase of migrants, financially and physically.
Anyone interested in volunteering needs to be registered and credentialed.
The city said it is still working on establishing a location for physical dropoffs to help and that should be announced later in the day Thursday.