DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado lawmakers and community leaders are calling for a humanitarian response to the surge of children who have crossed the Mexican border illegally.
They gathered at the state Capitol, hoping to pressure Congress.
The Executive Director of Servicios de la Raza, a community service agency, said they are helping reunited children with family already living in Colorado.
He was among those at the state Capitol to call on Congress and Colorado to do more to help.
Other groups included interfaith leaders, community activists and state lawmakers.
Their message is that the children are fleeing violence and that they need and deserve compassion.
They believe Colorado should send a clear signal that those children are welcome here.
Those groups also said that Congress needs to approve funding to help with the crisis at the border and act quickly to declare the children refugees so they are able to seek asylum.
“Declaring these children refugees would be an excellent start providing homes, not correctional facilities, is a must. Members of our own community offered homes to help because what we do today determines the course of our future as a country,” said Rep. Joe Salazar, a Democrat representing Thornton.
“How we would welcome children, not meet them with police, not meet with soldiers, but meet with mothers and fathers, compassion and love, I know that’s who we are,” said Denver Ministerial Alliance spokesman Patrick Demmer.
The governors of some states have told the federal government they don’t want the children. There have been protests in other states that have taken in the children.
Denver Human Services has requested a federal grant to provide temporary shelter for some of the children and is still waiting to hear if it will be granted.
It’s estimated up to 90,000 children could cross the border by October.