DENVER — Newly arrived migrants have been doing anything they can to earn some quick cash to get by, including offering to wash windshields at several intersections in Denver. But the Denver Police Department is now starting to crack down on those folks, saying it's dangerous for them to be in the roadways.
Denver7 spoke with Jhonny Paez from Venezuela, who said in Spanish that he was recently cited while he was out trying to earn money to feed his family.
Paez said he, his wife and two children arrived in Denver in December and have been staying at a local shelter. He said he decided to go out and offer windshield washing about two weeks ago because his two young kids did not want to eat the food offered at the shelter.
“The only way for them to eat was to go get $15, $20, $30, whatever we could," Paez said.
According to Paez, on a good day, he could earn around $70 working from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. But on Jan. 26 — his fourth day of washing windows — he said he was stopped by Denver police while he was washing someone's windows.
“I apologized if I was in the wrong. I didn’t come to this country to disrespect anyone. [The officer] said they were doing it with intentions to put a stop to it all," he said.
Paez said he received a $95 ticket for soliciting in the roadway.
“In that case, those $95 could’ve helped me get food for my kids," he said.
Paez said he hasn't been back out since. He said he recently was approved for a work permit and is waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
Denver7 went out to speak with a group of migrants who were offering window washing near Santa Fe and Alameda on Tuesday. A few said they had received warnings and citations.
“What is the crime we’re committing?" said one man, who didn't want to share his name. “We’re just washing windows. We aren’t doing anything bad."
In a statement, Denver PD said it is focused on "voluntary compliance" through education.
"The Denver Police Department is aware there are individuals at intersections around Denver attempting to wash windows of vehicles for compensation. While it can result in a citation to these individuals, it can be also be potentially dangerous for them as well. Some of the potential charges they could face is soliciting from the roadway or aggressive panhandling. The Denver Police Department is currently focusing on efforts to gain voluntary compliance by educating individuals participating in washing windows at intersections about the dangers of being in the roadway, as well as potential charges they could face."