DENVER — The City of Denver set up an emergency shelter for up to 100 migrants after they arrived on a bus Monday night into Tuesday morning.
A spokesperson for the city's office of emergency management said a group of 90 to 100 migrants arrived in Denver that night. The city set up cots at a recreation center to create an emergency shelter.
As of Wednesday night, the city said there are 110 migrants being housed at the shelter.
The city and county of Denver is also activating its Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center on Thursday to help with the response.
The city said Wednesday that the migrants were dropped off at Union Station in downtown Denver, and made their way to the Denver Rescue Mission. A spokesman for the Denver Rescue Mission confirmed.
Mayra Juarez Denis, executive director of Centro Humanitario, a nonprofit working with the migrants, said many of them said their last stop was in the El Paso area.
She said the people she spoke to confirmed they were not coerced to come here, they were not trafficked, and Denver was their intended destination. She said some of them are looking for work and to escape danger in their home countries. Most of the migrants she had spoken to indicated they were from Venezuela, though one was from Brazil and another from Honduras.
“All of them say, 'we just need an opportunity to start working and surviving, we don’t want to be a burden – tell us please, what do we have to do',” Juarez Denis said. “These are young people who want an opportunity to start over. To feel safe.”
The city said the emergency shelter will be accepting additional migrants from the Denver Rescue Mission through Wednesday evening.
Denver anticipates the emergency shelter will be in place while it works with nonprofit partners to connect people with resources. It's considering activating its Emergency Operations Center to respond and coordinate resources for the influx of migrants.
The OEM said the city has seen a steady increase of migrants arriving in Denver over the past few months.
The city had another large group arrive on Friday. The OEM said about 40 migrants showed up throughout the night and stayed at a homeless shelter. That sudden influx stressed the system already, so when more migrants arrived this week, the city had to open an emergency shelter.
In a tweet, the Denver Office of Emergency Management said organizations are accepting only monetary donations for the migrants and asked that people not bring donations to the Denver Rescue Mission or the emergency shelter. The office will update when it has information on physical donations.
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