By: Bayan Wang
Posted at 6:18 PM, May 18, 2023
and last updated 6:21 AM, May 19, 2023
DENVER — After challenging journeys to the United States, local organizations and various nonprofits are doing their best to accommodate the migrants arriving in Denver.
“We’re really focused on helping people integrate by knowing their rights, making sure they’re connected to legal services and then helping them look for housing that’s sustainable for them,” said Jennifer Piper, the program director at American Friends Service Committees Colorado.
According to the city, 129 migrants arrived in Denver Thursday as of 6 p.m. Forty migrants arrived in Denver from Texas Thursday afternoon. About 109 migrants arrived Wednesday, the city said.
There are 152 migrants in city-operated shelters. The city has limited their stays to 30 days.
“So we have 30 days, really, to figure out what’s going on both with their legal case and with their resettlement here before they’re on the street,” Piper said.
Piper’s team has been connecting migrants to resources, including case managers and nonprofits that help with legal services, such as the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Center (JAMLAC) in Denver.
“It has been very busy lately, especially with the migrant crisis,” said Marlene Bedoya, a JAMLAC spokesperson. “We feel we have the obligation to help them.”
JAMLAC has been hosting workshops to help migrants change their address and change the venue for their first status hearing in court.
“With a change of venue, you change your court to the state of Colorado,” Bedoya said. “There’s hundreds of people who have had courts in Miami, California in three weeks, one month, two months — the minimum thing that we can do is just change the address.”
Most migrants likely do not have legal representation during their asylum process because of the cost and the lack of immigration attorneys with the the ability to do the work pro bono. However, there are a few local organizations, such as the Colorado Asylum Center, that can help with the asylum application process.
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