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Denver mayor says influx of migrants this month has put "immense strain" on city resources, issues emergency declaration

Mayor Hancock issues emergency declaration due to influx of migrants in Denver
Mayor Hancock issues emergency declaration due to influx of migrants in Denver 02:31

Mayor Michael Hancock says Denver is not properly equipped to handle the influx of migrants who have been coming to the Mile High City in large numbers this month. On Thursday afternoon he issued an emergency declaration for the City and County of Denver. 


 "This declaration will give us another tool in our toolbox to free up and secure resources and streamline processes including funding and sheltering options to support these folks while they're here and as we work to reunify them with friends, family and their desired destinations," he said in a news conference.

Hancock said he hopes volunteers will step up to help the city with what he hopes will not become a local "humanitarian crisis." He also called on federal leaders to put aside politics and find a way to come to an agreement on the immigration issue that will result in an easing of the burden that's being placed on Denver and other cities around the country.

Hancock said providing shelter, clothes, food and medical services has the city's staffing levels stretched very thin. He said it has led to an "immense strain" on city resources.

"Right now we've got city employees from multiple agencies on the ground pulled from regular duties of managing a city and working around the clock to support the migrants and asylum seekers who have made their way to Denver," he said.

Hancock says the migrants have been coming from communities along the southern U.S. border, mostly from the El Paso area. Since Monday, 247 people have arrived in Denver and more than 400 people are currently being sheltered by the city and by the nonprofit groups the city has partnered with. Two of the city's recreation centers are now housing the migrants and another is being used as an intake center. Several churches are also providing beds. The cost of sheltering the migrants is already in excess of $800,000. 

City of Denver

Hancock gave thanks to all the people who have been helping with the crisis so far. He singled out city employees, church leaders and he also mentioned nonprofit groups who have been helping to raise funds. He also thanked those residents who have had to be patient while they have been unable to access their rec centers.  And he said he has been amazed by the citizens who live in the area who have started donating money and clothing.

"When we started to see this influx last week, residents weren't asking why these people were here and 'Why aren't we stopping them?' they were asking 'How can we help' and so that meant a lot to us and I know it means a lot to the people who have made their way to Denver. But that's the hallmark of a welcoming city. And I've never been prouder of our city, our residents and folks from neighboring cities ... so thank you for everyone who is doing everything they can to support this effort," Hancock said.

But the situation is going to "reach the breaking point" if more people don't help out, he says. More people are needed to volunteer at the city facilities that have been set up.

Take a look inside the emergency migrant shelter in Denver 00:32

The mayor said the city is also looking for people who can provide shelter.

"If you have space available please (contact us) so we can send folks out to evaluate your space that you may propose for sheltering," Hancock said.

People who can help are asked to visit or email

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