Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser has asked that the D.C. National Guard be activated indefinitely to help the district respond to an influx of illegal immigrants arriving by bus, according to a report.
Bowser’s request to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and President Joe Biden comes as more than 150 buses from Arizona and Texas have brought more than 5,000 migrants to Washington, D.C. in the past three months.
Buses began bringing migrants from Texas border communities in mid-April under instruction from Governor Greg Abbott. Texas has sent more than 125 buses to D.C. One month later, Arizona began sending buses as well.
“With pledges from Texas and Arizona to continue these abhorrent operations indefinitely, the situation is dire, and we consider this a humanitarian crisis — one that could overwhelm our social support network without immediate and sustained federal intervention,” Bowser wrote.
The mayor argued the “pace of arriving buses and the volume of arrivals have reached tipping points.”
“Our collective response and service efforts have now become overwhelmed. … Tragically, many families arrive in Washington, DC with nowhere to go, or they remain in limbo seeking onward destinations across the United States,” she wrote.
The mayor’s letters to Austin on July 19 and Biden on July 22 also include a request for permission to use the D.C. Armory as a processing center, according to copies of the letters shared by NBC Washington.
— Mark Segraves (@SegravesNBC4) July 28, 2022
Bowser’s request has so far gone unanswered, according to the report.
The mayor wrote in her letters that the federal government must provide “immediate federal assistance” because immigration is a federal issue.
She requested 150 personnel to help transport migrants to the D.C. Armory where the mission would help the illegal immigrants on their “eventual movement to their final destinations,” Bowser wrote.
“This mission would begin as soon as possible and continue indefinitely until the city relieves them,” she said. “To be clear, I recognize the magnitude of this request. But the Governors of Texas and Arizona are making a political statement to the federal government, and instead, their actions are having direct impacts on city and regional resources in ways that are unsustainable.”
Earlier this month Bowser told CBS’s Face the Nation that D.C. officials have “called on the federal government to work across state lines to prevent people from really being tricked into getting on buses.”
“We think they’re largely asylum seekers who are going to final destinations that are not Washington, D.C.,” she said. “I worked with the White House to make sure that FEMA provided a grant to a local organization that is providing services to folks. I fear that they’re being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America.”