New Mexico paid to bus asylum seekers to Denver-area churches


The New Mexico governor’s office paid about $4,000 for a bus to transport 55 Central American asylum seekers to Denver early Sunday morning in an arrangement negotiated between nonprofits in both communities, a spokeswoman confirmed on Tuesday.

The office of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham coordinated with Annunciation House, a nonprofit that works with migrants along the El Paso, Texas/Juarez, Mexico border, to send the asylum seekers to Denver because their shelters were over capacity. It was the first time Annunciation House had sent migrants to another state.

The shelters in Las Cruces, N.M., have been inundated with migrants and asylum seekers since April 12, New Mexico governor’s spokeswoman Claudia Tristán said.

Because the shelters had reached capacity, border patrol agents were releasing asylum seekers to bus stations, giving them no way to contact their sponsors. The asylum seekers are individuals who, through sponsors, have applied for legal status in the United States to seek refuge from persecution and are waiting on a court to make a determination on their claims.

Lujan Grisham’s office decided to get involved for the community’s sake — residents didn’t ask for people to be released on the street, but because of the proximity to the border, that was what was happening, Tristán said. She added that ICE agents were doing the same thing in El Paso, Texas, which is about an hour from Las Cruces.

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