More than 200 migrants still in Denver shelter, growing need for clothing donations | Popgen Tech
Denver continues to host a large number of migrants who continue to come to the city, helping to connect them with loved ones and resources to support their move.
As of Monday, Denver’s emergency shelter housed 153 migrants, while another 48 had been moved to a church shelter. Another 52 migrants stayed overnight in local homeless shelters, while 35 are preparing to be reunited with their families and move out of the city shelter.
The city estimates about 600 migrants have arrived in Denver in the past few months, according to a news release.
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Physical donations are accepted at Iglesia Ciudad de Dios, located at 5255 W. Warren Ave. in Denver. Donations are accepted from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. City updates its website with details on the items he needs most, specifically small-to-large adult clothing and winter weather clothing.
Jennifer Piper, who works with the local committee of the American Friends Service immigrant rights program, said newcomers from outside the U.S. have been coming to Colorado in larger numbers since about April. She said most of the migrants have family or loved ones they are trying to connect with in Colorado.
Although Denver is currently reporting the largest number of migrant arrivals, it is possible that this may be the case across the state as a whole. She said if there are cities and towns that are experiencing this, AFSC wants to connect them with resources to help.
“We would like to engage them in a conversation and connect them with people who could potentially help protect the safety of migrants and help the community to be able to welcome them with dignity,” Piper said.
There are a lot of models that we can do that are welcoming to a much larger number of people than Denver … This is an opportunity for Colorado to do a little bit of living in accordance with our values.
– Jennifer Piper, American Friends Service Committee
Piper estimates about half of the migrants who come through Denver are trying to connect with loved ones, and she said the city does a good job of supporting people as they try to get transportation to do so. But for those who don’t have personal ties to Colorado, Piper said it’s up to the community to help support them. Most of those who need this support are from Venezuela, she said.
“The situation in Venezuela right now is so complicated that it’s really a coming out of people from all walks of life,” Piper said. “I think our community will be stronger and benefit from helping these people get back on their feet and become a part of the cities we live in.”
Piper said the asylum restrictions that have led to this influx stem from Section 42, which since the height of the pandemic has closed the country’s borders to anyone seeking asylum. There were some variations in how the policy was implemented until a federal court recently struck down the use of Section 42 to deport migrants, but Piper said the Biden administration plans to appeal the decision.
Before it was rescinded, Piper said, the policy caused groups of people who spent months traveling from Venezuela to the US-Mexico border to be turned away and stuck in Mexico gathering resources to try to cross the border. Instead of applying to the US Border Patrol for asylum, they can enter the country and then apply for asylum status within a year of their stay in the US
“That means you have to cross the border yourself and then apply, that’s what happens,” Piper said. “People are only accessing their shelter in the way that the administration allows them to, and so they’re not part of that more coordinated flow.”
Piper said the current migrant situation shows how Colorado is joining the club of states like Arizona and New Mexico that are close to the border and should be able to support incoming migrants. Phoenix, for example, operates its own shelter designed for migrants coming to the city, she said.
“There are a lot of models that we can do where people host a much larger number of people than Denver,” Piper said. “This is an opportunity for Colorado to do a little bit of living in line with our values and show the same welcome that people have received for decades in El Paso, Phoenix and Albuquerque.”