Denver mayor declares state of emergency after arrival of migrants from southern border: 'An immense strain'

The mayor's state of emergency comes less than a week before the end of Title 42

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Thursday declared a state of emergency in response to an influx of migrants who have arrived from the southern border in recent months. 

Around 900 migrants have arrived in Denver in the past several months – 600 of whom have arrived since Dec. 2, according to the city. Nearly 250 migrants have arrived in Denver since Monday. 

A migrant shelter in Denver, Colorado. 

A migrant shelter in Denver, Colorado.  (Pool Photo: Kevin J. Beaty)

"This influx of migrants, the unanticipated nature of their arrival and our current space and staffing challenges have put an immense strain on city resources, to the level where they are on the verge of reaching a breaking point at this time," the mayor said in a statement. 

The city says social media played a role in the migrants' arrival, KDVR reported. Some migrants arrived from Venezuela, which has a temporary protection status through March 2023. That allows Venezuelans to work in the U.S. for two years but only applies to people who have arrived since least last spring. 

Denver has spent around $800,000 on migrant shelters and that number is expected to increase significantly. An emergency declaration would help the city secure more resources. 

EL PASO HIT BY 255% INCREASE IN MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS AS TITLE 42'S END NEARS, MIGRANTS START FIRES TO KEEP WARM

The city has opened two emergency shelters and a reception center to accommodate the migrant arrivals. As of Thursday, the first shelter was at capacity, the mayor said. 

Fox News Digital has reached out to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' office for comment. 

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is in the press conference at Denver Police Crime Laboratory in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday. January 27, 2021. 

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is in the press conference at Denver Police Crime Laboratory in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday. January 27, 2021.  (Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The mayor’s declaration comes ahead of next week’s end of Title 42, a public health rule enforced since President Trump to limit the spread of disease that allowed the U.S. to expel asylum-seekers on the southern border. 

Title 42 has been used more than 2.5 million times to expel migrants since March 2020, although that number includes people who have repeatedly been deported. 

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Its end comes as surging numbers of people are seeking to enter the country through the southern border. Republican lawmakers have warned that the country is completely unprepared for the surge of people crossing the border that is expected to take place. 

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.