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As hundreds of migrants arrive, city of Denver unprepared for influx

As hundreds of migrants arrive, city of Denver unprepared for influx
As hundreds of migrants arrive, city of Denver unprepared for influx 02:07

A parking garage near Auraria Campus was overflowing with migrants on Monday because lines to get help from the city of Denver are so long. This comes just days before Title 42 is expected to expire.

Migrants told CBS News Colorado they don't have access to food, shelter or water as they wait to be processed, despite having the proper immigration documentation -- an A-number -- which, as of Monday, is a requirement the city said is needed to get assistance. Many of the migrants are seeking asylum, which is a right in the United States.

"Everything's chaotic," said Bianca Galvez, who is from Guatemala. "I've been here for two days already. I stayed in the garage last night."


Men and women were seen walking around the campus with foam pads and makeshift cardboard beds. Migrants said the shelters that are available are overcrowded. A video shared with CBS News Colorado showed a nearby church at capacity.

"I'm frustrated with the heat. They should at least have water or food, because many of us haven't eaten since 5 a.m. when we got here," said Yondeivi Alvarez, from Venezuela.

Most of the migrants are in transit hoping to get a bus ticket to another city. Many of them told CBS News Colorado that no one sent them here -- many have opted to come here on their own, buying their own bus tickets, and sometimes working in El Paso to get funds to make the trip.

"We don't have anything to do. We want to leave, and then when the help to get a ticket ends, we have to wait another day," Galvez said.

Victoria Aguilar, a spokesperson for Denver's Department of Human Services, said the garage has been used as an intake processing center for at least a month, so this is a routine process but said the city was not prepared for the large groups to start arriving again. Aguilar added that it went from seeing a few dozen migrants per day, to now seeing more than 200 new arrivals every day over the past four days. Aguilar said the city does not have the money or resources to continue providing assistance to migrants.

"Because there's so many people, they can't help us all the same day, they're depleted," said Alvarez.

Local immigrant rights groups like American Friends Service Committee and Casa de Paz, came to the rescue late Monday, serving water and snacks to migrants, providing some relief for them in the short term as they continue waiting by the garage. The groups are expected to report out to the garage on Tuesday.

"I guess we just have to wait," said Galvez.

Despite what migrants are saying, the city said it is "providing bathroom facilities, food and water for our migrant guests waiting to complete the intake process. Aguilar added that the city is "coordinating with community and faith-based partners to assist migrants who wish to make Denver their home with resources. We will continue to connect everyone who arrives in the city with support services and resources, regardless of immigration status. All arriving migrants and those exiting emergency shelters will be provided with backpacks filled with hygiene products, transportation support should Denver not be their final destination."

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