Watch CBS News

Denver activates emergency shelter at recreation center for migrant arrival

Denver activates emergency shelter at rec center for migrant arrival
Denver activates emergency shelter at rec center for migrant arrival 02:26

The City and County of Denver has activated an emergency shelter to accommodate up to 100 migrants who arrived in the city overnight.

The emergency shelter is set up at one of the city's recreation centers. Denver hasn't released the location of the shelter and asked CBS News Colorado to keep the location private for safety reasons. City officials told CBS Colorado they are now considering activating their Emergency Operations Center to help the migrants, which would bring in resources from more agencies.

"We were notified this morning that we had an influx of migrants arrive at one of our homeless shelters, and they obviously are already pretty much taxed," said Mikayla Ortega, the communications manager with the Denver Office of Emergency Management.

The people who arrived overnight will be placed at the emergency shelter until nonprofits can help connect them with resources. 

Photos provided by the city show bottled water and cots set up in a rec center gym.

City of Denver

Photos provided by the city show bottled water and cots set up in a rec center gym.

"Currently our MassCare DOC is activated," Ortega said. "EOC activation will bring in agencies from across the entire city (right now only three involved) to help solve this migrant influx situation. It will open up more resources and help us find a solution quicker and more succinctly than doing it how it's being done currently."

While the migrants arrived by bus, city officials and advocates are working to find out who sent them to Colorado, how they got here, and why. Ortega said the city didn't get any notice that the group was coming. She added that city officials haven't been able to speak with the migrants yet, but plan to soon.

The migrants speak Spanish. Right now the nationality of the migrants isn't known to city officials and they don't know if the arrival was "political in nature," like what we saw earlier this year in communities like New YorkPhiladelphia and Martha's Vineyard. The city is working with its partners to help these migrants get on their feet in the meantime.

City of Denver

"We've done our due diligence, as far as going online, and checking for any press releases from those governors' offices to see if maybe they announced that they sent a bus to Denver," said Ortega.

Ortega said over the last few months they've seen more and more migrants show up to Denver unannounced, and because of what happened in other places, the city has been preparing for a situation like this, making sure they had a plan in place.

"Denver is a very welcoming city," Ortega said. "We work to provide resources and support to migrants who find themselves in our city and this situation is no different, just on a larger scale."

"Human lives are not political props. Instead of playing partisan games, let's tackle our broken immigration system once and for all," said Sen. John Hickenlooper. 

Donations are already being collected by local non-profits. People should direct donations to the Denver Community Church and the American Friends Service Committee. Monetary donations are preferred but additional donations may be requested at a later date. Monetary donations can be made to the groups listed above.

The Colorado Immigrant Right's Coalition is looking for volunteers to help with a welcome center that's being coordinating for arrivals to Denver. To sign-up visit:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.