Denver is demobilizing its emergency operations for migrant arrivals

Arrivals from the U.S. border reached the hundreds in May, but have since dropped to double digits.
2 min. read
A staging area for people headed to New York inside Denver’s second emergency shelter for people arriving from the U.S. southern border. Jan. 6, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Denver is demobilizing its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) used to shelter migrants arriving from the U.S. border. The city opened the center for the second time in six months to respond to a rise in arrivals in May.

In December, Denver began seeing hundreds of migrants, many from Venezuela, arriving in the city. Daily arrival numbers dropped in February, but rose to almost 300 in May, during warmer weather and right before the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era COVID migration policy.

But in recent weeks, the number of arrivals have decreased sharply, with just 30 people arriving Friday, and 42 people arriving Thursday. Denver is currently sheltering 98 people in city facilities and 617 people in partner facilities.

"The influx of migrants has reached a manageable level lessening the need for emergent operations to continue," the city wrote in a statement about the change in operations.

Denver will continue to operate its reception center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for people arriving in the city. While some people are putting down roots in Denver, the city has helped many more move on to other cities where people have friends and family.

Like cities across the country, Denver struggled to respond to an influx of so many people, with Mayor Michael Hancock calling on nonprofit help and more support from the state and federal government. Denver has spent around $17 million in its response so far, and only received $3.5 million from the state and $909,000 from the federal government.

"Denver is a welcoming city, and we continue to do everything we can to support the people affected by this humanitarian crisis," Mayor Michael B. Hancock said in a statement Friday. "Thanks to the work in the EOC over the past six weeks, we remain prepared for possible future influxes."

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