Politics DC requests National Guard assistance with busload of migrants

DC requests National Guard assistance with busload of migrants

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The District of Columbia has requested National Guard assistance to prevent a “growing humanitarian crisis” sparked by thousands of migrants sent to Washington by a pair of southern states.

Mayor Muriel Bowser formally asked the White House last week for an open-ended deployment of 150 National Guard members per day as well as a mass housing and processing center as a “reasonable federal location,” citing the DC Armory as a logical candidate. She met on July 21 with Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Liz Sherwood-Randall and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The crisis began in the spring when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to send busloads of immigrants to Washington, DC, in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that limited immigrant entry numbers. .

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The city estimates that about 200 buses have arrived since then, delivering more than 4,000 migrants to Union Station, often with no resources and no clue what to do next.

A coalition of local charities is working to provide food and shelter to evacuees with the help of a $1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But managers warn that both their resources and staff are being exhausted.

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  • “This reliance on NGOs is dysfunctional and unsustainable — they are overstretched and underfunded,” Bowser said in her letter. She has repeatedly said the influx is stressing her government’s ability to care for its own homeless residents and that intervention from the Biden administration is needed.

    “We know we have a federal problem that demands a federal response,” Bowser said at a July 18 press conference.

    In her letter, Bowser slammed Abbott and Ducey, accusing them of “brutal political gamesmanship” and accusing them of “deciding to exploit desperate people to score political points.”

    Bowser does not have the authority to personally order National Guard deployments, an issue that has become emotionally charged in recent years as a symbol of its entrenched status as less of a district than a state.

    She played a limited role in the January 6, 2021 uprising at the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. When it became clear that the US Capitol Police were outmatched by the mob, Bowser could not immediately deploy the District Guard. Instead, crucial time was lost when the request was considered inside the Pentagon and protesters stormed through the building.

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