DENVER — As 175 migrants arrived in the city of Denver overnight, and the city’s statistics show 101 migrants were added to the city’s emergency shelters in the same time frame.
Nearly 500 migrants were staying the city’s two emergency shelters Tuesday afternoon – proof that the humanitarian crisis in the city continues to grow.
Denver’s situation is dwarfed by the situation in El Paso, Texas, where as many as 1,800 migrants have been released by U.S. Border Patrol into the city each day, according to Robert Moore, the CEO of the non-profit news agency El Paso Matters.
Moore was formerly and editor at the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
“About 1,500 to 1,800 [migrants] a day were being released by the Border Patrol into El Paso. Many of them were able to get to shelters, but increasingly in recent days we were seeing 500-600 people released to the streets,” Moore said in an interview with 9NEWS on Tuesday.
Moore said city leaders in El Paso are scrambling to find resources for the people being released into the streets. The fear is more people could flood the city if a Trump-era immigration policy, Title 42, ends soon. Title 42, initially intended as a public health measure during COVID-19, allows the U.S. to expel migrants at the border.
“The expectation here is that we could see 5,000 people a day crossing,” Moore said. “There aren’t the bus seats out of El Paso or the plane seats. So, you’re getting this backlog.”
“None of these people coming across are coming to go to El Paso. They want to go to where their families are…they want to go to where there’s some work for them,” he said.
Many of the migrants who’ve arrived in Denver have said they came there from the border in El Paso. Moore said Denver is likely a destination for folks because it can provide ease of travel to other destinations.
“I think it has a good airport and good transportation hubs,” Moore said. “That’s the main thing. I don’t think for most of the people the end destination is Denver, although any place where employment opportunities are in abundance can be a place for these folks to go.”
“I think you still are probably seeing some NGO activity, that’s not chartering buses, but that’s kinda helping people who want to get there and can’t afford a ticket to get to Denver so they can connect to other locations,” he added.
Moore said El Paso city officials had been working on a system to bus migrants to nearby transportation hubs like Dallas, Denver and Phoenix, but that has stopped. The state has taken over busing, he said, with Gov. Greg Abbott providing charter buses to cities he considers “sanctuary cities” like Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
He cautioned people to remember the humanity in a crisis like this and avoid harsh rhetoric about migrants seeking safety here.
“This is a case of desperate people trying to come north to make for a better life for their families,” he said. “Using the rhetoric of invasion has been extraordinarily damaging to El Paso already. That language is what got 23 of my neighbors murdered at a Walmart in 2019.”
“I’d encourage everybody not to lose sight of the humanity here,” Moore said.
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