As many as 19 buses and vans dropped off migrants in Denver’s Central Park neighborhood on Friday, multiple sources told Scripps News Denver.
The buses and vans arrived between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and left migrants in the parking lots of Home Depot, Walmart and Sam’s Club, according to information collected by Scripps News Denver.
When contacted Tuesday, ranking sources inside the city said they were not aware of the Friday migrant arrivals in Central Park, and pledged to look into the information reported to Scripps News Denver.
Greg Lenora, a security guard, works for a company hired to protect the Sam’s Club parking area.
"One thing I can say is they are really, really polite," he said about the migrants he interacted with this past weekend. “They are not saying anything malicious or angry. They are just here to get money."
A day after the migrants' arrival at the businesses in Central Park, according to the security guard and other sources, some of the migrants returned trying to make money.
"Some had spray bottles and paper towels to wipe down windshields," Lenora said. "Others were helping customers to their car, trying to load whatever and afterwards they asked for a little money."
The security guard said decisions made by other migrants are part of the reason his security company was brought in to help.
He described that customers were suddenly reporting that they were getting charged to park in the parking lot, and were told if they didn't pay, they couldn't park. Parking at Sam's Club is free.
The arrival of the buses and vans happened on the same day that Denver Mayor Mike Johnston went on CNN, amplifying the concerns raised by the influx of dozens of migrant-filled buses to several cities across the country.
"I think the frustrating thing for us is we know this problem is solvable," Mayor Johnston said. "They should have federal dollars to help support them in the cities that they arrive in, and we should have a coordinated national plan for where these folks arrive."
Johnston joined mayors from New York and Chicago in bringing attention to the impact the migrants have had in all three sanctuary cities.
Texas has been sending busloads of migrants to Democratic-led cities like Chicago. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's busing operation has given free rides to more than 80,000 migrants across the country since last year.
Johnston called for the federal government to step in with much-needed resources for the cities and the migrants.
"That’s why we are pushing Congress to act on those things," Johnston said.
The mayor’s request for action follows reports that estimate more than 100 migrant-filled buses have arrived in Denver during the month of December alone — an influx that has created challenges for cities, neighborhoods and businesses.
This point was made by the Denver security guard when asked why he was guarding an empty parking lot during a holiday when the store was closed.
"We’re basically making sure that they know that they can’t camp here," he said. "And we really need to have a presence here because it makes them know that what they’re doing is making the customers feel uncomfortable and they have to stop."
According to the latest data in Denver, 4,410 migrants are currently sheltered in non-city facilities. More than 35,000 migrants have been served by the city.
This story was originally published by Tony Kovaleski at Scripps News Denver.
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