Colorado Ends Short-Term Program to Bus Immigrants to Chicago and New York

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DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis said Colorado will no longer transport asylum seekers to New York City and Chicago after the mayors of both cities demanded the policy stop.

Polis sent an unspecified number of migrants to both cities and other locations in Colorado last week because, he said, they were only passing through on their way to those destinations, and Denver city officials were overwhelmed by the 3,900 migrants who have already They had arrived in the last month.

It has already cost Denver more than $2.5 million to house and feed migrants seeking asylum due to violence, hunger and unemployment in their home countries, city officials said.

“Most migrants have a final destination that is not Denver,” Polis’s office said in a statement In the past week. He declined to comment Monday and his office did not say how many migrants had been bused.

While reversing his decision, Polis also set aside $5 million in state money to help provide assistance to migrants, Denver officials said Monday.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and New York Mayor Eric Adams said they are dealing with the same issues as Denver, and had warned Polis before busing began that they could not accommodate more applicants for asylum.

A migrant checks donated clothing Friday at a makeshift shelter in Denver. Thomas Peipert/AP

«While we share concerns about accommodating the flood of asylum seekers, overburdening other cities is not the solution,» Lightfoot and Adams wrote last week in a letter to Polis, according to nbc chicago. «We respectfully demand that you cease and desist sending immigrants to New York City and Chicago.»

Polis’s office said the immigrants who arrived in Denver were unable to get out to their final destinations due to bad weather that forced the cancellation of transportation services.

New York City has already welcomed more than 38,000 immigrants in the past nine months, Adams’ office said Monday. Chicago has absorbed 3,800 immigrants from Texas since August, NBC Chicago reported. Lightfoot did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Polis’s office said Saturday that no more buses were scheduled to go to Chicago and that the last one carrying immigrants to New York City was scheduled to arrive on Sunday.

By Sunday afternoon, nearly 600 migrants were housed in Denver shelters and another 600 were in partner emergency shelters, city officials said. About 50 immigrants arrived in Denver on Saturday night, but the number of people arriving in the city on a daily basis has cooled in the past week, they said. They expect another raise at some point.

Two recreation centers and two motels have already been converted into temporary shelters and a third recreation center into a migrant welcome center.

The governor’s office said Colorado coordinated with emergency management teams in New York and Illinois and local immigrant service organizations to help make a smooth transition for asylum seekers who wanted to live elsewhere.

“People fleeing violence and oppression in search of a better life for themselves and their families deserve our respect, not political games, and we are grateful that we were able to help migrants reach their final destination,” Polis said. in a statement last week.

Many of the migrants who arrived in Denver had traveled from Venezuela.

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