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DC Mayor Bowser declares public emergency due to migrant buses

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D, declared a public emergency due to the continued arrival of migrant buses from Texas and Arizona. The mayor is also creating a new Office of Migrant Services to help people with resettlement, provide meals, transportation and other assistance.

The Mayor’s order will last for 15 days and she will submit a request for full approval from the City Council to make it official. Bowser is allocating $10 million in city funds to get the office started, but she said the city will seek reimbursement from FEMA.

Bowser has repeatedly asked for more aid from the federal government. The Department of Defense twice denied her request for a National Guard deployment to help with staffing.

“Regardless of the federal response, which I think has been lacking in some respects, that the District of Columbia would continue to work with partners to advance what we need and ensure our systems in D.C. are not broken by a crisis that is certainly not of our making,” Bowser said.

The mayor aims to have a 24/7 presence at Union Station to meet all immigrants as they arrive and help them get to their final destination. According to the mayor’s office, 348 people are currently staying in D.C. hotels, including 94 families. According to releases from the Texas and Arizona state governments, 9,400 immigrants have arrived since April, most of whom move on to another destination outside the District.

The mayor estimates hundreds more buses will arrive this fall. The District has largely relied on nonprofits to help with its response and city officials are working to contract personnel that can work with those organizations.

“This is a new challenge for D.C., but I feel confident that if we lead with our values, and if we put the right systems in place – which we are doing with the Office of Migrant Services — then we will lead a response that makes our community proud,” Bowser said. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R, signed an executive order in April directing the Texas Department of Emergency management to charter buses for the immigrants. He said he wanted big cities to experience what small Texas towns have to go through when more immigrants arrive than their facilities can handle.

Straight Arrow News interviewed two immigrants from Venezuela who arrived in D.C. on buses from Texas and were staying at a local church. 

“First they made us sign a paper that said we were not obligated to enter the bus. They told us to leave because there, they didn’t have any shelters that could help us,” Luis Cumare explained. “We came here hungry, but hungry to work.”

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is declaring a public emergency due to the continued arrival of migrant buses from Texas and Arizona. She’s also creating a new office of Migrant Services to help people with resettlement, provide meals, transportation and other assistance. She says the city is allocating $10 million dollars to start the office and will seek reimbursement from FEMA.

As Mayor Bowser ramps up the DC response, she’s hoping for more federal aid.

Bowser says: “Regardless of the federal response — which I think has been lacking in some respects — that the District of Columbia would continue to work with partners to advance what we need and ensure our systems in D.C. are not broken by a crisis that is certainly not of our making,”

The Mayor aims to have a 24/7 presence at Union station to meet all immigrants as they arrive and help them get to their final destination. 348 people are currently staying in DC hotels, including 94 families. Approximately 9,400 immigrants total have arrived since April. Most of them move on to another destination outside the city. The Mayor estimates hundreds more buses will arrive this fall. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D, declared a public emergency due to the continued arrival of migrant buses from Texas and Arizona. The mayor is also creating a new Office of Migrant Services to help people with resettlement, provide meals, transportation and other assistance.

The Mayor’s order will last for 15 days and she will submit a request for full approval from the City Council to make it official. Bowser is allocating $10 million in city funds to get the office started, but she said the city will seek reimbursement from FEMA.

Bowser has repeatedly asked for more aid from the federal government. The Department of Defense twice denied her request for a National Guard deployment to help with staffing.

“Regardless of the federal response, which I think has been lacking in some respects, that the District of Columbia would continue to work with partners to advance what we need and ensure our systems in D.C. are not broken by a crisis that is certainly not of our making,” Bowser said.

The mayor aims to have a 24/7 presence at Union Station to meet all immigrants as they arrive and help them get to their final destination. According to the mayor’s office, 348 people are currently staying in D.C. hotels, including 94 families. According to releases from the Texas and Arizona state governments, 9,400 immigrants have arrived since April, most of whom move on to another destination outside the District.

The mayor estimates hundreds more buses will arrive this fall. The District has largely relied on nonprofits to help with its response and city officials are working to contract personnel that can work with those organizations.

“This is a new challenge for D.C., but I feel confident that if we lead with our values, and if we put the right systems in place – which we are doing with the Office of Migrant Services — then we will lead a response that makes our community proud,” Bowser said. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R, signed an executive order in April directing the Texas Department of Emergency management to charter buses for the immigrants. He said he wanted big cities to experience what small Texas towns have to go through when more immigrants arrive than their facilities can handle.

Straight Arrow News interviewed two immigrants from Venezuela who arrived in D.C. on buses from Texas and were staying at a local church. 

“First they made us sign a paper that said we were not obligated to enter the bus. They told us to leave because there, they didn’t have any shelters that could help us,” Luis Cumare explained. “We came here hungry, but hungry to work.”

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