Denver, CO

Opinion: What Denver’s migrants might say in their letters home

David Heitz

The author used artificial intelligence in the crafting of this article.

I wonder what the migrants tell their friends in their letters home. Or their emails.

I wonder if they tell them how some people here are not friendly toward them. The Statue of Liberty may look like an imposter once they get here.

Housing for two weeks doesn’t help the Denver migrants a whole lot. Many are ending up homeless on the streets as the city shuts down hotels that have been sheltering the migrants.

So, I wonder what their dispatches home sound like. They must be scared, miserable, and cold if they’ve landed on the street. Is Denver the hospitable “sanctuary city” that the migrants expected? I suspect not really.

It’s brutal to live on the streets anywhere. In Denver, winters can be especially brutal – particularly for people who have never even seen snow.

AI speaks for migrants

I used artificial intelligence to get a glimpse into what Venezuelan immigrants' dispatches home may sound like. Microsoft’s AI tool crafted a largely positive letter for a Venezuelan newly arrived in the U.S. This is not a real letter from a migrant, but rather one written by artificial intelligence from the standpoint of a migrant. Excerpts from the letter created by artificial intelligence include:

“The United States is a very big and diverse country, with people from many different backgrounds and cultures. I have met people from Mexico, Columbia, Cuba, China, India, and many other places. They have been very friendly and helpful to me, and I have learned a lot from them. I have also noticed that there are many different opinions and perspectives on politics, religion, and social issues. Sometimes people disagree and argue, but they also respect each other’s right to express themselves.”

“Denver is a beautiful city, surrounded by mountains and nature. It has a lot of parks, museums, restaurants, and entertainment options. I like to go hiking, biking, and skiing in the nearby areas, and enjoy the fresh air and scenery. The weather here is very different from Venezuela. It can get very cold and snowy in the winter, and very hot and dry in the summer. I have to wear different clothes and accessories depending on the season. I also have to drink a lot of water and use sunscreen, because the sun is very strong, and the air is very thin.”

“There are also some challenges and difficulties that I face every day….I sometimes feel lonely, homesick, and sad….I also face some discrimination and prejudice from some people who judge me by my accent, my appearance, or my status. I try to ignore them and focus on the positive things, but sometimes it hurts and angers me. I wish people would be more open-minded and compassionate and realize that we are all human beings who deserve respect and dignity.”

Life in real world difficult

I somehow doubt newly arrived migrants are in Aspen taking in the slopes. AI may have an overly optimistic view of what Denver’s newest residents are experiencing. Many are sleeping on the streets, including families with children, according to Denver city staff.

The city's online migrant dashboard shows that 108 migrants arrived Friday and 101 arrived Thursday. These numbers are among the most robust Denver has seen since the migrant influx began late last year.

More than 2,000 migrants are being sheltered in non-city facilities, according to the dashboard. More than 26,000 migrants have been assisted so far by the city, the dashboard reports. Many migrants arrived in Denver and received free bus tickets for their next stop, according to city staff. Others have chosen Denver as their final destination and are seeking housing.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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