The Department of Defense has once again denied Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request for National Guard assistance with the thousands of migrants who are arriving on buses from Texas. This is the second denial since Bowser made her initial request in July.
In a letter to Bowser, DOD executive secretary Kelly Bulliner Holly stated local shelters and nonprofits have enough resources to handle the situation. In addition, the DOD is concerned that National Guard members do not have experience or training with feeding, sanitation, facilities management, and ground support necessary to do the job.
“The Department is conscious of concerns associated with introducing uniformed military forces or a military facility into the role of supporting a domestic migrant respite center, particularly for functions that put the [D.C. National Guard] members in direct contact with the migrants,” Bulliner Holly stated in a letter to Bowser obtained by DCist.
Bowser responded with a tweet that said she will continue working to ensure the immigrants have a humane place to stay. She also used the denial to call for D.C. statehood, “so that, in the future, when the Mayor of DC says that we need the support of the DC National Guard, she has the ability to deploy the Guard.”
Bowser’s initial request for National Guard assistance was denied for being too broad. At the time, she said D.C.-area NGOs were “overwhelmed and underfunded.”
“We need to make sure there’s a national response. Not an ad hoc, city by city, state by state response,” 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 that arrived in D.C. on buses from Texas and are now 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.”