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Rose Community Foundation helps migrants get approved for work permits

Denver Foundation helps migrants get approved for work permits
Denver Foundation helps migrants get approved for work permits 02:42

Over the past few months, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston has made his opinion on migrant assistance clear by saying that people need to be able to get employment.

The Newcomers Fund at Rose Community Foundation has been raising funds for a program that the Colorado Office of New Americans is building out to help migrants apply for Temporary Protected Status and work permits. 

According to Sarah Kurz, chief impact officer for the Rose Community Foundation, some people are already on the path to getting their work permits. 

"We've heard just last week that the first round of people in that group are starting to get that authorization which is really exciting for them to have a path forward to stay here with some comfort and to be able to work legally," said Kurz.  


Kurz adds that it's a complicated process to help people prepare all their documentation to apply and then work with immigration attorneys to submit all the necessary paperwork, usually taking about six to eight hours per person. 

Though she says they've now shortened that time to two hours. 

So far, 100 applications have been submitted, according to the foundation. It's expected to get at least 2,000 people through the process in the upcoming months. 

Alberto, a Venezuelan migrant is just one of thousands hoping to legally work in the U.S. 

"The community helps us with food, clothes and all, but what we need is work. We need work so that we can take care of ourselves," said Alberto. 

Like many, Alberto also slept on the streets after his time at a shelter ran out.


"We all came with a dream, and that's to help our family back in Venezuela financially," added Alberto.

Since November, the Rose Community Foundation has helped submit 100 work permit applications. 

The donations from the community helped with the federal fee, which comes to be just a little over $500 per application.

For people like Alberto, that assistance is limited since he arrived in the U.S. after July 31, 2023. 

The Biden administration has only extended temporary legal status to Venezuelans who arrived before July 31, 2023. 

"We know that the migrants that are coming to our community want to work, they want to make a life for themselves," said Kurz. 


It's something Johnston addressed during a migrant camp clean up on Wednesday.

"None of these folks have a path to work authorization, which is why they will end up without jobs or without a place to live, I think the federal government gets that, the Biden administration has been pushing for this," said Johnston. "We have to get congress to come through and pass the resources and work authorization that we need to make it possible." 

In October, Johnston asked the government to expand work authorization to migrants who arrived after that July 31 cut-off date.

So far, the Biden administration has not changed the eligibility.

To date, the Newcomers Fund has raised more than $2 million, with about $700,000 going toward the work permit process. 

More than 4,000 individuals have donated to the cause, along with many local foundations and corporate partners.

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