Immigration Overload Refugee Status

FILE - This June 25, 2014 file photo shows a group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally as they are stopped in Granjeno, Texas. A White House proposal to grant some young Honduran citizens refugee status before they try to head to the United States illegally could provide a much needed safety valve to alleviate some of the stress on government agencies responsible for dealing with the flood of children and families from Central America crossing the border in recent months, immigration experts said. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

DENVER — Denver is offering to take care of some of the immigrant children who have flooded across the border in recent months.

The city announced Tuesday it has submitted an application for a $12 million federal grant over three years to provide housing, counseling and other services to 60 children. If the offer is accepted, the children would live for about a month on average in an underused family shelter called the Family Crisis Center.

City officials said earlier that they were considering applying for the grant.

Other cities, including St. Louis, also are applying for grants. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, meanwhile, is encouraging organizations to apply.

In a statement, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said helping some of the more than 57,000 children at the border, most of them from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, is the right thing to do.

"Denver is a welcoming, compassionate city, and we will not turn a blind eye to children in need — no matter where they come from— if called upon to help," Hancock said in statement.

The statement also included endorsements of the plan from U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, several city council members and former University of Denver chancellor Dan Ritchie.

The city would work with its public hospital, Denver Health, and Lutheran Family Services to take care of the children, and officials stressed that no city tax dollars would be used.

A Grand Junction-based private agency, Ariel Clinical Services, which places troubled children in foster homes also is applying to put some of the immigrant children in homes in the Denver area.

At least 220 children from the border already have been sent to Colorado to live with relatives and other sponsors, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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