DENVER — Starting Monday, Denver will only shelter migrants who have had contact with the federal government.
A news release from the city said Denver will only be providing emergency shelter to "newly arriving migrants who have been encountered by U.S. immigration officials." The city will continue to provide support services and resources to all migrants, according to the release.
The policy is taking effect just days before a federal rule limiting how many migrants can cross the border is set to expire. Once that happens, the city is expecting another influx of migrants to arrive.
"When it occurred in December it was a bit of a shock to everyone," said Franco Orellana, a case manager with Servicios de la Raza.
The surge came quickly at the end of last year. Within a few weeks, nearly 2,000 migrants arrived in Denver.
"I would say this time does feel different," Orellana said.
As nonprofits like Servicios de la Raza expect another uptick soon, they feel more prepared.
"We are a little bit more optimistic about our ability to efficiently work with migrants," he said.
Since December, Orellana has helped families connect to resources such as legal services. They're getting ready to connect with more migrants as Title 42 is set to expire on Thursday.
"More than likely these migrants will be coming to sanctuary cities like Denver, so this time we have more of a forewarning instead of last time when it just occurred," Orellana said.
Since the first surge that began in December, Denver has helped more than 8,000 migrants. It's cost the city more than $12 million.
Starting Monday, the city will now only shelter people who have started the official immigration process because of limits on funding.
Federal government requirements say cities will receive funding or reimbursement for costs if they have a migrant's A-number. An A-number, also known as an alien registration number, is a unique seven-, eight- or nine-digit number assigned to a noncitizen by the Department of Homeland Security.
Orellana worries some migrants won't have a place to stay.
"The unfortunate reality is we are already dealing with migrants going onto the streets," he said.
Servicios de la Raza wants to help as many families as possible regardless of status.
"We are holding our breath a little bit and preparing," Orellana said.
The number of migrants Denver is supporting and sheltering has already started to go up again, according to the city's dashboard. On May 1, the city was helping 390 migrants. Almost a week later, the number has jumped to more than 800 people.
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