Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a request to the secretary of the Army to activate the D.C. National Guard. She wants help with the growing number of migrants being shipped to the nation’s capital on buses from Texas and Arizona. She describes it as a humanitarian crisis that will only get worse.
“We need to make sure there’s a national response. Not an ad hoc, city by city, state by state response,” Mayor Bowser said.
Mayor Bowser is asking for an open-ended deployment of 150 National Guard members in addition to a housing and processing center. She has to request assistance from the Guard through the federal government because D.C. is not a state.
Bowser wrote in a letter that relying on NGOs to do the work is unsustainable because they are “overwhelmed and underfunded.” D.C. city officials estimate 200 buses have arrived so far with 4,000 immigrants.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said he’s busing the migrants to D.C. so Washington politicians can experience how difficult it is on local communities when they have more people to care for than their facilities can handle. He said the buses will keep coming.
“They are going to increasingly have to grapple with the challenges that we face in Texas until we have Washington, D.C., finally step up and do its job and secure the border and enforce the laws passed by the United States Congress,” Gov. Abbott told KETK-TV.
Abbott signed an executive order in April directing the Texas Department of Emergency Management to charter buses for the migrants so they can be sent to D.C. Abbott explained it was his way of trying to secure the border in the wake of the Biden administration’s decision to end Title 42, a pandemic-related measure that allowed for the quick deportation of migrants on health grounds.
Local organizations have been helping the migrants with food and shelter with the aid of a $1 million grant from FEMA. But they warn that those resources are running out.
The AP contributed to this report.