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Denver welcomes asylum seekers

Denver welcomes asylum seekers

Denver welcomes asylum seekers
May 23
12:41 2019

Haga » Click Aquí « para LEER esta Historia en Español

THEY ARE RECEIVING SUPPORT FROM CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS

Newsroom/El Comercio de Colorado

Denver became one of the destinations for asylum seekers that couldn’t be received by overwhelmed shelters at the border areas of Texas and New Mexico. 55 of these Central American immigrants came to the city and were hosted by First Unitarian, First Plymouth Congregational and Denver Community Church. “They travelled more than 1,500 miles to be hosted here for a few days. All of them have now reached their relatives in different parts of the United States,” said Jeanette Vizguerra.

Vizguerra, who leads the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, supported the request by Annunciation House, in El Paso, to host these Central American immigrants. In addition to the three churches mentioned above, other organizations like Casa de Paz, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and other groups got mobilized to provide shelter, food, and basic resources for the immigrant families that were mostly from Guatemala.   

Vizguerra’s activism

“These immigrants went on to meet with their families and took with them a backpack with two changes of clean clothes. They are in dire need. They fled their countries where crime runs high and they made a long journey for their safety and for a better life for their children,” said Vizguerra. This activist said that many of the asylum seekers were very scared when they arrived here, but grateful for the help they received. The support of Vizguerra and all the organizations was key for the immigrants to continue their journey.

Vizguerra also brings her own experience when she talks with immigrants about what to expect as their case makes its way through the judicial system. “We connected them with attorneys and experts that explained how immigration laws work, and it was made clear to them that the process in the courts is long,” she said. Vizguerra lent her support while she is still fighting her own immigration case. Her activism has been met with additional obstacles in her case by the current administration.

Rejected in Florida

“Denver will always welcome those who seek refuge,” said Michael Hancock in response to the arrival of a first group of asylum seekers at the city. “I am proud of our community for proactively stepping in to provide support in uniting these individuals with their family and friends. They deserve our compassion, not condemnation.” The city didn’t coordinate this effort or provided financial resources, but its contribution was important to leverage the work of community activists.

The response of authorities in Denver is a big contrast with that of the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, who refused the arrival of asylum seekers at his state. Since October 1st, 2008 to date, the Office of Custom and Border Protection (CBP) has released more than 40,000 families detained at the border, according to information disclosed by the agency. If these numbers remain steady, more families will be referred to shelters run by non-governmental organizations in Denver, while they are reunited with their families in this country.

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EDICIÓN VIRTUAL | #345 | 15 DE AGOSTO 2019

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