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Lawyers, non-profit group in Colorado try to aid border kids

By: Associated Press
July 27, 2014 Updated: July 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm
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DENVER — Lawyers, churches and at least one nonprofit group in Colorado are hoping to help immigrant children who have flooded over the border with Mexico.

Denver officials have said they are considering applying for a federal grant to provide housing and other services to the children, who are mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The Denver Post (http://bit.ly/1nMEQlu) reported Sunday that Grand Junction-based Ariel Clinical Services is applying for a grant to place some of the children in foster homes in the Denver area.

"It's a good match with our mission. That's what we do is help kids who are in trouble," Ariel executive director Becky Hobart told the newspaper.

Immigration advocates and critics say another group that offers help to at-risk children, Rite of Passage of Arapahoe County, has offered to use its youth center in Watkins to house immigrant children. A representative of the group wouldn't comment.

So far, only a trickle of children from the border have come to Colorado to be placed with relatives.

A coalition of evangelical churches and faith organizations called the Evangelical Immigration Table, which includes Focus on the Family, is hoping to help the children by taking members on trips to the border.

In addition, some immigration attorneys plan to travel to Artesia, New Mexico, in the coming weeks to offer legal aid to the minors being held there. About 100 other attorneys have been trained to offer assistance to the children that they anticipate will be brought to Colorado.

"Colorado tends to be a more open and welcoming community overall and more accepting of things like this," said David Kolko, chairman of the Colorado Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

However, Regina Thompson, president of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots, said she expected there to be protests as more young immigrants arrive in Colorado. She believes the federal government is breaking its own laws by allowing the youths to remain in the country, Thompson said.

"While I have compassion, I don't believe this is a real crisis," she said. "I believe it's been engineered."

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Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com

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