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Denver bracing for new influx of migrants as federal asylum rule set to expire

"Resources are going to be stretched in new and different ways" with influx of migrants expected to arrive
Posted at 3:42 PM, May 07, 2023

DENVER — The city of Denver is preparing for an influx of migrants as a federal asylum rule is set to expire in a few days.

Title 42, a public health order that was put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic, limited thousands from entering the United States. But the order is set to be lifted this Thursday.

With that restriction coming to an end, the city is already seeing a lot more migrants arriving from the southern border, and those numbers are expected to rise even more.

For much of April, Denver city officials said about 20-30 migrants were arriving in the city each day.

Over the past week, the number of new arrivals has been increasing significantly.

Last week, fewer than 400 people were staying in the shelters. But over the past several days, around 200 people have been arriving each day, resulting in emergency shelters nearing capacity limits, according to a spokesperson for the city.

Beginning Monday, the City and County of Denver will limit who receives emergency shelter services. In a statement, the city said it will follow federal guidelines to provide emergency shelter only to newly arriving migrants who have been encountered by U.S. immigration officials.

While the city continues to follow federal guidance, officials said they will also work to connect everyone who arrives in Denver with support services and resources, regardless of immigration status.

Denver bracing for new influx of migrants as federal asylum rule set to expire

All arriving migrants and those exiting emergency shelters will be provided with backpacks filled with hygiene products. Transportation support will also be offered should Denver not be their final destination.

Denver7 spoke with local organizations that have been helping the migrant situation for the past few months.

"We are going to have some new challenges. Our resources are going to be stretched in new and different ways," said Stephen Hinkel, public relations manager for the Denver Rescue Mission. "We're just going to have to face the challenges that are going to be brought out.”

Hinkel said they're preparing to increase their emergency shelter capacities if they need to.

Another group that has been providing support to migrants is Servicios de La Raza.

Carmelita Cervantes, director of that organization's essential services, said they're already seeing a higher number of calls and people showing up in person for help.

"You really can't predict what's going to happen," she said. "The only thing we could do is just help, as the need is there."

The city said it will continue to collaborate with community-based organizations to navigate fluctuations in migrant arrivals. The city adds that it will continue to "call on Congress for support to address this nationwide issue and advocate for local communities, such as Denver, that have been disproportionately tasked with handling and managing what is a growing national humanitarian crisis."

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