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Denver working with nonprofits as more migrants arrive in the city

The Denver Emergency Operations Center held a briefing Thursday on efforts to support about 150 migrants who arrived in the city this past week.

DENVER — An influx of migrants to Denver that prompted the city to open an emergency shelter has continued through this week with another 20 arriving Thursday and more expected to come, city officials said.

Denver's Emergency Operations leadership provided an update Thursday on sheltering efforts and how Denver is working to ensure the migrants' basic needs for health and safety are met. The city's Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center activated on Thursday to help respond.

About 150 migrants have arrived in Denver over the past week, many of them from Central and South America. A bus dropped off about 90 people Monday at Union Station, after about 40 to 50 people arrived late last week. As of Thursday, the shelter set up at a recreation center was housing 120 migrants, said Evan Dreyer, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Michael Hancock.

Migrants – many from Venezuela – have arrived by bus, air travel into Denver International Airport and by personal vehicle, and then they have made their way to the Denver Rescue Mission. They chose to come to Denver, many of them connecting through social media, and were not sent here by any government entity, Dreyer said.

The city has seen a slow and steady influx of about 300 migrants over the past couple of months, but the spike in numbers this week has challenged the systems in place to provide support.

Dreyer said that city officials are working with nonprofit organizations on long-term solutions as they anticipate the arrival of more migrants.

> Below: Watch the full news conference from Thursday:

 Mayra Juarez Denis, executive director of Centro Humanitario, a nonprofit working with the migrants, said on Wednesday that many of the migrants say 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.

Denver anticipates the emergency shelter will be in place while it works with nonprofit partners to connect people with resources.


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