Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared the busing of migrants to the nation’s capital a public emergency Thursday as over 9,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in the district since April.
The declaration authorizes Bowser to establish an Office of Migrant Services, which will provide support and services to migrants being sent to Washington DC from Texas and Arizona.
The district will initially allocate $10 million for the creation of the new office and will seek reimbursement from the federal government, according to the announcement.
“This is what we know. The crisis at the border is not lessening. It’s getting worse,” Bowser said at a press conference, adding that she expects “hundreds of more buses” to arrive in the fall.
According to the mayor’s office, about 9,400 migrants have arrived in DC since April, when Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott first began sending busloads of illegal migrants in an attempt to coerce Democratic leaders and the Biden administration to tighten border control. Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey began following Abbott’s lead shortly thereafter.
Abbott has also been busing migrants to New York City since June, and began sending buses to Chicago last week.
“In many ways, the governors of Texas and Arizona have turned us into a border town. We don’t know how long this will take to resolve. We don’t know how long they will continue bussing,” Washington DC Councilmember Brianne Nadeau said.
Bowser’s announcement comes weeks after the Pentagon rejected her request for assistance from the National Guard for a second time. The mayor twice asked for troops to be deployed to “help prevent a prolonged humanitarian crisis in our nation’s capital resulting from the daily arrival of migrants.”
In addition to providing meals, medical needs and translation services, the Office of Migrant Services will set up a system, separate from its established homeless service system, to house incoming migrants.
Bowser’s announcement came as the Department of Homeland Security revealed nearly 750 migrants have died trying to cross the southern border this fiscal year, a whopping toll that surpasses last year’s total by 200 lives.