No Central American refugees coming to Denver — for now

Politics

A sign held by an attendee at a press conference earlier this year at the State Capitol where Latino leaders called on elected officials and the community to welcome some of the Central American refugees currently in a logjam on the southern border.

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DENVER — Earlier this year, when thousands of Central American refugees were streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border, Denver was one of several cities that applied for federal dollars to provide shelter and care for some unaccompanied minors.

The city found out last week that no unaccompanied minors will be headed here — for now, FOX31 Denver is first to report.

Last Wednesday, the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement informed Denver Human Services that it currently has sufficient shelter capacity to serve the unaccompanied children being referred from the Dept. of Homeland Security.

As a result, Denver’s application has been deferred until further notice.

“Denver remains committed to serving children in need, no matter where they’re from,” DHS’s Julie Smith said on Tuesday. “Our city has always been willing to step up and offer help when faced with a humanitarian crisis and we remain willing to assist if called upon to do so.”

Denver applied to receive $12 million over three years to support the relocation of up to 60 young refugees from Central America, viewing the federal grants dangled in response to the summer’s humanitarian crisis — some $350 million was to be split among 60 competing cities — as an opportunity to expand the city’s capacity to serve at-risk kids.

While Mayor Michael Hancock and other civic leaders supported the grant application, others worried that the city couldn’t afford the financial burden of caring for the children.

It’s still possible the grant could be awarded to Denver — the city’s application was graded a 98 out of a possible 100 — if the need for cities to shelter an overflow of refugees arises again.

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