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Denver is a city overwhelmed with migrants from the southern U.S. border

Posted in Featured, World

Published on April 05, 2024 with No Comments

City has taken in more migrants than any of its size in U.S. and spent $60M US on supports for them so far. When asked straight up to spell out her message to Donald Trump and other supporters of his campaign against undocumented migrants in the U.S., Daniella Crisbel-Burgos got right to the point.

“We are not here to commit crimes,” she said. “We just want somewhere stable to live.”

Crisbel-Burgos had spent that morning cooking hot meals on a propane burner inside the tiny camping tent she and her husband then called home, pitched on a sidewalk alongside a giant fairground in downtown Denver late last month.

A couple dozen other tents lined the roadway, all of them occupied by migrants who’d fled strife in Central and South America to claim asylum in the U.S.

She told CBC News she and her husband ran from violence and political corruption in Venezuela two years ago, finally crossing into America last December. They were then immediately captured by U.S. Border Patrol agents and put in a holding cell.

Like so many others who enter Texas that way, they were loaded onto a charter bus and, as directed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, transported north to a so-called sanctuary city, places that welcome and try to protect such migrants from deportation or other federal prosecution.
In this case, Denver.

But the city has been inundated by migrants, as illegal border crossings into the U.S. from Mexico spiked to record highs in late 2023 — sometimes nearly 10,000 a day — before dropping off slightly in early 2024.

Not least because of the busing program in Texas — itself overwhelmed — Denver, a city of 710,000, has taken in more than 40,000 migrants the past year.

Although about half of them have since moved on, that’s the most of any city its size in America.

Denver’s response to migrants
On most days now, Crisbel-Burgos’s husband earns pocket change squeegee-cleaning car windows at Denver intersections while she holds up a handwritten placard begging for money.

“We’re not looking for government handouts,” she told CBC. “We’re only asking for two things: a work permit and a safe place to be. Nothing else.

“We came here for a better future.”

Despite the city’s determination to do all it can for migrants, there are only so many resources to go around, said Jon Ewing, spokesperson for the City of Denver.
As a self-declared sanctuary city, like New York and Chicago, Denver offers municipal services to help migrants restart their lives in America.

That has included providing immediate food and shelter (often in temporarily converted downtown hotels), family counselling, guidance on paperwork for finding a job, lasting accommodation and help navigating the school system.

The city’s migrant response has come with a large price tage: to date the city has spent more than $60 million US on it.

 

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