DENVER — Since December, the City of Denver has purchased over 5,300 bus tickets for arriving migrants. That means that of the 10,200 migrants the city has served to date, it's helped a little over half by purchasing bus tickets for their final destination.
The most migrants are being processed by the city's welcome center. Others are navigating the city on their own by purchasing their own tickets to and from Denver and finding their own place to sleep.
Originally from Honduras, Gustavo started the journey with his wife and son. He got separated from them after his phone was stolen on the journey.
"I couldn't communicate with my family or anyone," Gustavo said.
After arriving in Denver, he borrowed the phone of someone he met while at Union Station. He learned after traveling that his family is in Dallas, Texas.
"Right now in this situation, I am going to look for my family before anything else," Gustavo said. He'd expected his family to have left Texas by that point. They went through two different ports of entry, leading them on different paths forward.
"I didn’t have another option because I didn’t have money," Gustavo explained, saying he had to sleep outside of Union Station in the bus terminal. "Without money, I can’t do anything like pay for a hotel or room to spend the night. I spent the night outside, bearing the cold and everything."
He's holding on to the little money he has to buy another bus ticket back to the state he just left.
"I feel proud and happy because I will see them soon," Gustavo said. "I will hug them before anything else. We arrived together, but we were separated. Being separated was difficult for me. But thanks to God, I believe tomorrow evening, we will be together again."
Johandris Daniel spent two days on the bus to make his way to Denver.
"[We spent] two days on the bus," he said. "I'm tired and hungry, but we are here."
He traveled from Brownsville, Texas to San Antonio, Dallas, to Tucson, Arizona to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma back to Amarillo, Texas. After that, they made it to Denver.
"Yes, we need to have a strong mindset because without it, I don't believe you will arrive to the United States," Johandris said. "You have to have a strong mindset to get through so many unbelievable things, things you wouldn't be able to imagine."
After arriving, he and his family went to the city's welcome center in hopes they could find a temporary shelter to stay.
Ronny made it to Denver so that he could get to New York, where his mom is.
"It’s been a while," Ronny said. He hasn't seen his mom in a couple years. "It’s a lot of emotion because it’s been years since I’ve seen her. It feels really special to be able to see her again."
To get to New York, he'll have to go to Minnesota, then backtrack to Montana. From there, Ronny will go to Chicago, Cleveland and New York. He'll have to travel through five cities over the course of three days.
"It's headache to think about all the places I have to go to," Ronny said.
Ronny bought his own bus ticket, but others have gotten theirs through the city. From Dec. 2022 through May 14, 2023, the city purchased 5,340 bus tickets for migrants who wish to travel to other US cities.
From May 8-14, the city has spent approximately $361,000 on 1,027 tickets for migrants wishing to continue out of Denver. Migrants have gone to 34 other states from Colorado, the majority being to Chicago and New York.
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