Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser formally requested the National Guard’s assistance in curbing the alleged “growing humanitarian crisis” sparked by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sending busloads of processed migrants to the nation’s capital.
“We are focused, and we continue to be very focused on having the federal government do its part and take the lead in what we see as a growing humanitarian crisis with people who are seeking asylum coming across the country to get to their final destinations,” Bowser said in a press conference Thursday.
Since Gov. Abbott announced Texas’ busing program in April and Gov. Ducey followed suit in May, the two states have sent nearly 200 buses carrying more than 5,000 migrants to D.C.
A letter to the White House, sent on behalf of Bowser by the director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Christopher Rodriguez, formally asked the White House last week for an open-ended deployment of 150 National Guard members and a “suitable federal location” for a mass housing and processing center.
The request followed a July 21 meeting between Mayor Bowser, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Liz Sherwood-Randall, and the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Julie Chavez Rodriguez.
A coalition of local charitable groups has been working to feed and shelter the processed migrants, aided by a $1-million grant of federal taxpayer funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, organizers of the groups have warned that their resources and personnel are being exhausted.
“This reliance on NGOs is not working and is unsustainable — they are overwhelmed and underfunded,” Bowser stated in her letter.
Bowser had previously complained that the influx of migrants hinders her government’s ability to care for its homeless and vagrant people and requires intervention from the White House.
“We know we have a federal issue that demands a federal response,” Bowser said at a July 18 press conference.
Bowser added that she expects the crisis to “escalate.”
“The number of people crossing the border, seeking asylum, we expect only to go up and we need to make sure there is a national response,” she said.
In her letter, Bowser placed some of the blame on Govs. Abbott and Ducey, accusing them of “cruel political gamesmanship” and claiming they “decided to use desperate people to score political points.”
Gov. Abbott said Mayor Bowser is mistaken in blaming him and Gov. Ducey, claiming that President Joe Biden’s migration policies created the crisis.
“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,” a statement from Gov. Abbott’s office read.
“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,” he stated.
There have been more than 200,000 encounters with unlawful migrants along the southern border in each of the last four months, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
With more than 1.7 million unlawful migrant encounters in the fiscal year 2021, this fiscal year is on track to outpace that number.
The high number of unlawful migrant encounters has led to some border counties declaring the situation an “invasion” and county officials calling on states to take matters into their own hands, as reported in The Dallas Express.
Some groups agree that Gov. Abbott is only trying to score political points with his program to bus migrants to the nation’s capital.
“Gov. Abbott is taking a card from Rick Perry’s playbook during an election year where he failed Texas on so many things,” said Nancy Thompson, founder of the group Mothers Against Greg Abbott.
“Texans want Gov. Abbott to focus on those things that will help Texas families,” Thompson added. “Dehumanizing others for his own political benefit is abhorrent. He needs to focus on: fixing the grid, enacting common sense gun laws, supporting public education and our teachers, keeping government out of medical decisions, the home, and the bedroom, [and] ensuring that parents have a say for what their own children see/learn, but not what others see/learn.”
Cindi Castilla, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, says border states had to take action because of the Biden administration’s failure to manage the situation.
“Our border states are overrun with over 200,000 illegal persons entering our country each month. It is an invasion of our nation,” said Castilla. “The proper federal response would be for the Biden Administration to revive the successful remain in Mexico policy.”
“The Biden open border policies are increasing the flow of deadly drugs and trafficked children into our country,” Castilla added. “Mayor Bowser should address this crisis with her party leaders and ask them to close our southern border to anyone not legally authorized to cross.”