Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser requested the deployment of the city’s National Guard troops to address the influx of migrants bused from Texas and Arizona.
“We’ve had a number of discussions, we’ve facilitated FEMA’s involvement with a million dollar grant that has now been increased to work with a lead nonprofit agency. We’ve facilitated using those grant funds to set up a respite center in a neighboring jurisdiction and I’ve also asked the Secretary of the Army to deploy the DC National Guard to help lead that effort,” Bowser said during a press conference Thursday.
Bowser said the deployment and other support from the federal government are needed to address the “growing humanitarian crisis” of an increasing number of asylum-seekers traveling through the country to their final destinations.
“We need the space and we need the federal government to be involved, so I’ve asked for the deployment of the guard as long as we need the guard to deal with the humanitarian crisis that we expect to escalate. The number of people crossing the border seeking asylum we expect to only go up and we need to make sure that there is a national response, not an ad hoc city by city, state by state response,” Bowser said.
The busing effort by Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Greg Abbott of Texas to handle the influx of migrants crossing into their states is “politically motivated,” Bowser said. The reporter who asked Bowser about the border state initiatives incorrectly stated that migrants were being bused from Arkansas, which Bowser didn’t correct.
“Washington, D.C. finally understands what Texans have been dealing with every single day, as our communities are overrun and overwhelmed by thousands of illegal immigrants thanks to President Biden’s open border policies. If the mayor wants a solution to this crisis, she should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border — something he has failed to do. The true ongoing humanitarian crisis is along our southern border,” Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The Biden Administration is allowing historic levels of illegal immigrants, weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl to surge into our state. Texas continues stepping up to respond to this crisis by deploying Texas National Guard soldiers and DPS troopers, building our own border wall, busing migrants to our nation’s capital and now sending illegal immigrants back to the border,” Eze added.
Ducey also responded to Bowser’s announcement with a series of tweets Thursday, saying “Bowser is right” that the issue is a humanitarian crisis.
“If the Mayor really wants to address the issue, she can join us in calling for President Biden to take action at the root of the problem, and secure our southern border,” Ducey added.
Meanwhile, border town officials and residents have criticized Bowser for complaining about having to accommodate a few thousand migrants while they deal with the millions of migrant crossings under President Joe Biden, which now exceed 3 million, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“It’s a couple thousand over months of time, we see a couple thousand in one day, our sector is at 1,700 a day. And the buses make sense for those going to the East Coast. And a lot of them aren’t staying in DC,” the director of the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition, a faith-based nongovernmental organization in Del Rio, Texas that accommodates migrants on a daily basis, Tiffany Burrow, recently told the DCNF.
Many of the migrants bused to the city don’t stay there, according to migrants who earlier spoke to the DCNF while exiting the buses at Washington’s Union Station.
“We were gonna go to New York, but the person is not responding to us, so now we want to go to Florida. We’re seeing if people can help us because there are people that will receive us in Florida and give us work in order to get settled,” one migrant exiting the bus told the DCNF.
The D.C. National Guard acknowledged its awareness of Bowser’s request, referring the DCNF to the Department of Defense (DOD), which didn’t immediately respond.