Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has requested the National Guard step in to help handle the arrival of thousands of migrants from the US-Mexico border, saying the nation’s capital has reached a “tipping point.”

In a July 19 request for assistance to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Bowser reported that “over 4,000 individuals arriving on nearly 200 buses” have come to DC since April, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey pledged to put migrants on charter buses to protest the Biden administration’s immigration policies.

“Our collective response and service efforts have now become overwhelmed,” Bowser wrote.

“[O]ur homeless services system is already under great strain; and tragically, many families arrive in Washington, DC with nowhere to go, or they remain in limbo seeking onward destinations across the United States.

“With pledges from Texas and Arizona to continue these abhorrent operations indefinitely, the situation is dire,” the mayor added, “and we consider this a humanitarian crisis – one that could overwhelm our social support network without immediate and sustained federal intervention.”

Migrants hold Red Cross blankets after arriving at Union Station near the US Capitol from Texas on April 27.
Migrants hold Red Cross blankets after arriving at Union Station near the US Capitol from Texas on April 27.
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Bowser asked Austin to allocate 150 DC National Guard personnel daily to ensure a “24/7 operation” in dealing with the migrants. She also requested use of the DC Armory, or “another suitable federal location in the National Capital Region, as a temporary processing center. 

“These functions are not dissimilar to the use of military personnel and facilities for other humanitarian missions, including assisting Afghan refugees,” wrote the mayor.

Three days later, Bowser turned her attention to the White House, writing Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and Intergovernmental Affairs Director Julie Chavez Rodriguez to ask them to support her request. 

“The DCNG was instrumental in our Public Health Emergency and can be even more impactful in addressing the needs of asylum seekers,” she wrote, before appearing to appeal to Biden himself. 

“I have great empathy for the very difficult situation people boarding buses to unknown locations are facing. I likewise am very concerned that the social safety net I am responsible for ensuring for DC residents is maintained,” Bowser said. 

“I know the President shares my empathy, and I look forward to working with the administration to secure the DCNG and a federal facility to process migrants as they seek asylum and a better life in the United States of America free of uncertainty and fear.” 

Mayor Bowser
Mayor Bowser called the influx of migrants “dire,” calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis.”
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bowser has received no response to either of her requests, according to NBC Washington, which first obtained the letters. 

The first busload of migrants arrived in Washington on April 13, days after Abbott ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management to begin the transports. 

All of the migrants who have arrived in Washington have gone there voluntarily, since they are permitted to travel within the US after being processed by Customs and Border Protection. 

Typically, when migrants are released from federal custody after crossing the border and evading expulsion, they are given paperwork allowing them to stay in the US as well as an order to appear in immigration court to appeal for asylum. 

So far, Arizona has transported 1,262 migrants on 33 buses, Ducey’s office confirmed to The Post.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management did not immediately respond to The Post’s inquiry on the latest numbers from the Lone Star State.

Families and solo migrants have a meal together after arriving at Union Station from Texas on July 12.
Families and solo migrants have a meal together after arriving at Union Station from Texas on July 12.
Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post via Getty Im

Abbott and Ducey’s efforts to alleviate strain on border towns – which usually receive the bulk of migrants after processing – has been heavily criticized by both the Biden administration and other Democratic leaders. 

Most recently, New York City Mayor Eric Adams blasted the Republicans, calling them “cowards.” 

“Our country is home of the free, land of the brave,” Adams said during a City Hall news conference last week. “We do not become cowards and send people away who are looking for help.”

On July 17, Bowser called the arrival of migrants in her city a “significant issue,” telling CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “I fear that they’re being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America.”


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