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Colorado leaders say state is working with nonprofits to help migrants reach chosen destinations

Since then, the city said, about 1,600 of them have left. They said in many cases, Denver was not their endpoint destination.

DENVER — New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday morning that Colorado is sending migrants his way. The comments were shared in a radio interview with WABC radio. 

"We were notified yesterday that the Governor of Colorado is now stating that they are going to be sending migrants to places like New York and Chicago. This is just unfair for local governments to have to take on this national obligation," Adams said.

According to the city of Denver, more than 3,600 migrants have arrived in Denver since early November. Since then, the city said, about 1,600 of them have left. They said in many cases, Denver was not their endpoint destination.

City and state leaders said they are connecting migrants with resources to help them reach their chosen destinations. 9NEWS asked the leaders where the migrants were going, but they did not provide a specific list of locations.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis' office announced they were assisting with transporting migrants to their desired final destinations, and claimed 70% of the migrants arriving don't plan to stay in Colorado.

The city said more than 100 migrants left on a bus transport chartered by the state Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Polis' office claimed the majority of migrants who have a final destination other than Colorado have expressed interest in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta or Miami.

"In order to facilitate the safe and voluntary transit of people, the state is working with culturally competent navigators to ensure that each individual is voluntarily making their decision," Polis' office said in a news release. "The state is partnering with two non-profits that have experience working with the immigrant and specifically the Venezuelan community and will be working actively with those navigators to ensure people are selecting their preferred locations, and once there, can seamlessly connect to family members, friends, and services when they reach their destination."

While Polis said the migrants moving are doing so voluntarily, it's unclear if any decided to leave simply because of the lack of resources here in Colorado. 

Denver city leaders estimate they've already spent more than $1 million on the sheltering efforts and could spend about $3 million over the next few months.

"I really can't imagine what might happen without getting that critical help we need from the state and the federal government," Jill Lis, a spokesperson working with the Denver Emergency Operations Center, said. 

"The city simply is not able to provide the resources and the infrastructure to maintain the level of sheltering and support that we have been providing over the last month and a half," Lis said. 

Last week, Mayor Michael Hancock wrote a letter to the Archdiocese of Denver asking to use an old nursing home on the west side of the city to help house some of the migrants. He said it would shelter about 100 people. 

On Tuesday, the Archdiocese said it was looking at the Mullen Home near 29th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard as a possibility to help shelter migrants. 

The Archdiocese said in a news release that it just got possession of the property and wanted to make sure the building is safe and ready to receive people. 

Archdiocese leaders said they planned to meet with city leaders to talk about plans late Tuesday.

"States and cities not on the border are ill-equipped to address these challenges, and absent federal support and leadership, we’re left to strategize and take actions to ensure this vulnerable population – people who’ve come here with no resources or means – are safe and treated humanely," Hancock said in a statement Tuesday. "I appreciate Gov. Polis and the State for leaning in to support those coming to our city to reach their preferred destinations, and to help reduce the number of people in our shelters and more quickly connect them with community supports and other options. I’ve talked with other mayors around the country and we’re united in our call for Congress to work with the Biden Administration to provide the assistance we need to manage this situation.”



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