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Denver Human Services plans to welcome immigrant children

While Texas Governor Rick Perry has been making it clear that he wants to keep illegal immigrant children from crossing into the U.S. through Texas borders, Colorado is making plans to welcome immigrant children who might come to Denver.

Texas handles things their own way
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Despite a growing national outcry against relocating the flood of immigrant children who illegally come into America, to other cities for housing while they await a hearing, Denver Human Services is devising a plan to prepare a place to welcome these “victims of a humanitarian crisis” as Mayor Hancock describes it, to Denver.

Fox 31 reported that the Department of Human Services is beginning the process of applying for a grant from the government to cover the anticipated expenses to house possible illegal immigrant children who may arrive here within the next few months.

Although no actual applications have been filed with the government as yet, a feasibility study has begun and Denver Human Services is communicating with other government agencies to determine the level of co-operation they can expect for putting their plan to establish designated housing for these children into action.

The Family Crisis Center on West 10th and Federal Blvd. in Denver is earmarked as the proposed location where the children would be staying while their cases are being processed. This location is reported to be complete with sleeping quarters, classrooms and a dining hall.

Do the math: It is estimated that possibly 90,000 children will enter through the United States borders illegally before the end of 2014. That could equate to maybe 1800 more people per state if these children were equally sent out across the country. Divide that by the number of big cities in each state and ask the question: could my community support maybe another 180 children?

The federal government has met with much opposition from other states so far, in finding communities that are willing to house these children who have illegally entered the United States. The law will not allow the government to simply return them to their country.

Denver appears to be one of the first cities in the nation that is considering a more compassionate approach to this invasion of the borders. Denver Human Services will be taking on the role of the Good Samaritan, to regard these children first as human beings in need of help, then deal with the issue of illegal residency.

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry continues to make it quite clear that he will not put out the welcome mat for illegal immigrants in his television interviews. Governor Perry does not care what conditions would drive a parent to such extremes to commit this crime of illegal immigration. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper seems inclined to lean toward the more compassionate response of Denver Human Services, that Mayor Michael Hancock supports.

Some Americans believe these immigrant families are taking advantage of the 2008 law that entitles unaccompanied child migrants from Central America to have a hearing before deportation. In the past, many of these children would remain in the U.S. for months and years before their hearing took place or never show up to their hearing at all.

If these children were from Mexico or Canada, the procedure for deportation would be different. For those countries, the deportation process would move more quickly.

It's true the parents of these migrant children from Guatemala, El Salvador and the Honduras are aware of the red tape involved in the deportation process but it is hard to imagine such a desperate act of hopelessness that would lead parents to smuggle their children into the United States, expecting they will have a better life in the Land of Opportunity.

Now, President Obama has proposed $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address the growing problem for federal agencies in handling the surge of minors crossing the borders. Although politicians are not in agreement on how to resolve the issue, everyone agrees that it is time to take action.

The citizens of Denver could applaud this humanitarian decision of Denver Human Services to offer a safe haven for these migrant children in Denver or there could be an added strain on Denver race relations.

The persistent argument that illegal immigrants deplete American resources and take away from our children, our economy and our citizens is exacerbated in a bad economy. Racial tensions can flare up when it appears that one group is stealing assets that could be dispersed to another group. Denver Human Services has decided to take a controversial approach to the problem.

To immigrant children, detention centers become the first impression they have of American society. Denver Human Services would have a plan to make that experience a more humane, more positive first impression of America at their detention facility.

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