Thursday, 2 Feb 2023

100 migrants unexpectedly arrive in Denver; city launches emergency shelter

Denver has set up an emergency shelter to accommodate as many as 100 immigrants from the U.S.’s southern border after the group arrived in the city overnight Monday into Tuesday, according to the Denver Office of Emergency Management.

The office announced the activation of an emergency shelter, set up in an undisclosed city recreation center, on Twitter just after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“At this time, we are working to stand up an emergency shelter and we anticipate it will be in place while we work with non-profit partners to connect people with resources,” emergency management officials said in a news release.

The release does not provide more information on where the immigrants came from. 9News reported that a bus was involved in their arrival but the city is unsure if all of the 90 to 100 immigrants arrived by bus or who may have sent them to Denver.

The emergency management office shared a photo on Twitter of rows of cots set up in a gymnasium and stacks of bottled water for the people needing shelter.

Department spokeswoman Mikayla Ortega said the immigrants arrived at the shelter around 8 p.m. Tuesday. She was in a meeting on Wednesday morning and expected more information to be released later in the day.

The arrival of the immigrants prompted state and local leaders to respond. Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kniech wrote on Twitter that she was “incredibly proud of city staff & interpreters who mobilized at a moment’s notice tonight, dedicated & compassionate, representing for Denver.”

Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper, Denver’s former mayor, issued a statement Wednesday morning implying the arrival of the immigrants was political theater similar to when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used state money to fly immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts earlier this year.

“Human lives are not political props. Denver will welcome these migrants with open arms and help any way they can. We will be empathetic to people put in a difficult situation,” Hickenlooper said in his statement. “Instead of playing partisan games, let’s tackle our broken immigration system once and for all.”

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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