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"It's so disheartening": Denver metro organization works to help bused migrants reach family and friends

Mayor Johnston said many of the arriving migrants never intended to come to Denver, leading to fear and confusion.
Posted: 9:20 PM, Oct 06, 2023
Updated: 2023-10-06 23:20:14-04
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DENVER — In an interview on CNN Friday morning, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston described the issues the city and migrants from Venezuela are facing when they are bused here from other states. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been busing hundreds of migrants across the country daily, with as many as nine arriving in Denver each day according to CNN. This comes amid a surge in migrants, largely from Venezuela, arriving at the United States southern border.

Mayor Johnston said many of the arriving migrants never intended to come to Denver, leading to fear and confusion.

“They got put on a bus, and they were trying to get to California or Chicago or to Boston because they have family there,” Johnston said on CNN. “And so people that are trying to reconnect with families or networks, we help them arrive to those places.”

Working to help shelter, clothe, and aid the migrants is Casa de Paz, an organization based out of Aurora. Executive Director Andrea Loya said she has heard many of the same stories from the migrants she has worked with, and called the busing a “political agenda” that is not helping the situation.

“People are not even sure … why they’re being detained, or why they’re being bused to different places,” Loya said. “So to them, it’s a shock.”

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Loya said she has “such gratitude for the teams within the state and the city” for their work to help migrants, amid growing pressure as they continue to arrive from desperate situations. She said Casa de Paz has noticed a large increase in need over the past week, as many migrants have arrived by bus.

In response to this latest surge in migration, ABC News is reporting that the Biden administration is planning to resume deportation flights of some migrants back to Venezuela if they cross into the country illegally. Loya argued these decisions can have the opposite of their intended effect, with migrants trying to navigate the legal system telling her they are afraid to attend their immigration check in appointments out of fear they will be separated from their families and deported.

“It’s so disheartening, because they fled for a reason,” Loya said. “They’re putting themselves through these months and months of journey for you to just send them back. So, it’s just—it’s enraging.”

National leaders, and local leaders across the country, have said they are running out of the resources and bandwidth to help the number of individuals arriving. Loya said she rejects that as a valid excuse.

“It’s just a bold lie, honestly, to say we don’t have the money, because we do,” Loya said. “There is money. You just have to put it in the right places, and in the right hands of people who have the hearts and the desire to help.”

Denver metro organization works to help bused migrants reach family and friends


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