Washington DC mayor calls for National Guard to help with migrants being bused in from Texas and Arizona

The mayor of Washington, DC, has called on the Biden administration to send in the National Guard to assist with migrants being sent to the capital on buses from Texas and Arizona.

“The migrant crisis facing our city and our country through the cruel political gamemanship from the Governors of Texas and Arizona must be dealt with at a federal level,” wrote Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser in a 22 July dated letter to White House aides.

In the letter, the Democratic mayor went on to ask that the military reserve force be utilised to support the 5,500 people that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has sent to the capital since the busing program began four months ago.

“I continue to stress my request for the DCNG [DC National Guard] to lead this response in a facility identified by the federal government,” the mayor added, referring to how she’d sent an earlier request on 19 July in a letter directed to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin.

“To be clear, our request for the DCNG is firmly in line with precedent and the law pertaining to what the Guard is designed to do.”

Shortly after Easter, Mr Abbott announced that, as part of his Lone Star Operation, he would begin bussing migrants arriving in Texas on the southern border to the capital, claiming that the effort – which was widely slammed by critics as a “political stunt” – would help relieve border communities who find themselves “overwhelmed by record-high numbers of illegal crossings while bringing the border crisis to President Biden’s doorstep”.

“Now, Washington, D.C. is having to realize, in a very minimal way, exactly what Texas is having to deal with as a result of the open border policies that the Biden Administration has allowed,” Mr Abbott said in a press statement released last week commending the program for its success in providing “relief” for Texans.

In DC, local groups have been forced to pick up where federal government has failed to step in, with the city saying that it has dispersed more than $1m in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants to non-governmental organisations.

“Our ability to assist people in need at this scale is very limited,” wrote Mayor Bowser. “Instead of rolling up their sleeves and working with the Biden/Harris Administration on a real solution, Governors Abbott and Ducey have decided to use desperate people to score political points.”

Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona took a page from his Texan counterpart this past May and similarly began bussing migrants landing at his border to the nation’s capital.

Both governors have been accused recently by Mayor Bowser of “tricking” migrants by transporting them to Washington, DC, an allegation that Mr Abbott has pushed back at, claiming the only “lie” that has been promoted is the one being told by the Biden administration about the country’s border crisis.

“We think they’re largely asylum seekers who are going to final destinations that are not Washington, DC,” Ms Bowser claimed during a Face the Nation interview earlier this month. “I fear that they’re being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America.”

By the most recent estimates, more than 200 buses have arrived on the nation’s doorstep of democracy since the program began, with more than 4,000 migrants – costing Lone Star State taxpayers about $1,400 per passenger, an investigation by NBC 5 in Dallas found – stepping off just blocks away from the Capitol dome.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has characterised Mr Abbott’s actions on the southern border as “chaos”, while urging him to stop “meddling” in a federal issue.

“Immigration enforcement is a federal authority, and states should not be meddling in it,” the White House press secretary said during a press briefing in June. “Especially Texas Gov Abbott, who has a track record of causing chaos and confusion at the border.”

“But, again, immigration enforcement is a federal authority,” Ms Jean-Pierre added.

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