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Polis announces plans to help migrants travel out of Denver

Posted at 3:35 PM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 19:41:57-05

DENVER — Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced the state will begin helping the City of Denver transport migrants to their final destination.

According to a news release issued by the governor’s office, for nearly 70% of the migrants arriving in Denver, Colorado is not their final destination but due to weather and workforce shortages, the migrants have been experiencing transportation cancellations.

The governor’s office said it is working with culturally competent navigators to help migrants make travel arrangements.

“No one should play politics with the lives of migrants who came here to escape oppression, and in Colorado, we are honoring our values of treating people with dignity and respect,” Polis said. “States and cities cannot continue to bear this burden alone and Congress needs to finally step up - we need an immediate route to work permits, and to finally enact better border security and immigration reform.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also released a statement expressing gratitude for the state’s help.

“Over the past month, more than 3,500 migrants and asylum-seekers have traveled to Denver from the southern border. Every day nearly twice as many new arrivals are coming to Denver than are leaving, and each night 1,800 migrants are being sheltered in our community,” Hancock said. “I appreciate Gov. Polis and the State for leaning in to support those coming to our city to reach their preferred destinations, and to help reduce the number of people in our shelters and more quickly connect them with community supports and other options.”

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, 144 migrants arrived in Denver overnight. The city has helped approximately 3,652 migrants since Dec. 9.

Over the past few weeks, other Denver leaders like Denver City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval have been trying to expand Denver’s shelter capacity.

“I have stepped up to ask others specifically in Northwest Denver. I've done an assessment of where I think there would be good facilities for either donations or for shelters … so one of the facilities I found early on, I think about the week of December 17, was Little Sisters of the Poor,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval said the building which is in her district served as a senior living facility before closing recently. It is now owned by the Archdiocese.

“So I made a call to my contact there and asked said we need help. They said that they are looking into it. And they're assessing the site and the facility,” Sandoval said.

The mayor’s office also sent a letter to the archdiocese requesting to use the facility.

Sandoval said the facility needs some upgrades but she’s hoping the city can reach an agreement with the archdiocese for the use of the facility.

“I will continue to call poke, show up on people's doors, whatever's needed in this time of need. And so hopefully we can get to a place where we're more stable instead of such a crisis, and hopefully, our other jurisdictions will come to help,” Sandoval said.

For more information on how to donate to volunteer at shelters or donate gently used clothing items click here.