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Nonprofit sees increase in migrants being released from ICE detention facility

The increase in migrants isn't just coming from the border. At the same time, more people are being released from Aurora's ICE detention facility.

AURORA, Colo. — Nearly 500 migrants have arrived in Denver, just in the last two days. So many have arrived, there's not enough room in our shelters.

Even more are expected as Title 42, a rule that allowed border agents to turn migrants away, is set to expire on Thursday.

But the increase isn't just coming from the border. At the same time, more people are being released from Aurora's ICE detention facility.

"We don’t know what we’ll expect today, if we’ll expect another 40 or another 20, over 50. It really depends," Andrea Loya, the executive director of Casa De Paz, said.  

Casa De Paz is a small nonprofit that helps migrants who are released from the nearby ICE detention facility in Aurora. The group has been doing it for 11 years, but lately they've seen a change. 

"Prior to COVID we were seeing just maybe five to 10 people a week ," Loya said. "Yesterday we served 40, and I think those numbers are only expected to continue going up." 

Loya said of those 40 people, about 20 of them were released around 9 p.m. She only knew about it because someone from a nearby market called the nonprofit organization. She said lately the detention facility releases people at all times of day with no warning. 

"I think last week, it may have been Wednesday or Thursday, they released one or two people every hour. Which, it doesn’t make sense. You can release everyone at the same time," she said. "So yeah, we have to adjust a lot to what the detention center decides to, and that can be a little frustrating, but we’re happy when people are released. We’re happy to welcome people here. It's just that they sometimes make it harder for us to accomplish things." 

On Thursday, Title 42, a public health rule that gave border agents the ability to turn migrants away, is expected to expire. 

Loya believes the recent increase in releases is due to the rule expiring. 

"Yes, I say that because the detention center themselves has said that in the past, that they are getting ready to detain more people, and so they're getting ready to flush people out of the system, and that's what it is," she said. 

Casa De Paz representatives now park outside of the detention facility sometimes 12 hours a day, knowing migrants can be released any time. 

"If Casa were not there, we would be setting people up for failure, because while they're very resilient individuals, they still need basic things," she said. "These people are human beings, so we really have to treat each other as such." 

Loya said a lot of people released have plans to go to other states, so their primary focus is helping them get there. 

The nonprofit is looking for volunteers to join their welcome team. There is some training involved. Right now, they are looking for people to drive people to bus stations or airports to help them get where they need to go. 


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