The Democratic mayor of Washington D.C, Muriel Bowser, will ask to activate the National Guard to help the city deal with the Washington migrant crisis since thousands of migrants have been bused to the nation’s capital from Texas and Arizona border crisis continues to reach historic levels. The Democratic major sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, asking him to activate the National Guard, as reported by NBCNews4 Washington.
According to the letter sent by Muriel Bowser to Secretary Austin, the city of Washington D.C has reached a “tipping point.” The city’s response and humanitarian services have become “overwhelmed,” saying the welcome center established by the city is now crowded and that many of the migrants who arrived at DC remain in limbo. Bowser said that her government now considers the flow of migrants a “humanitarian crisis (…) that could overwhelm our social support network without immediate and sustained federal intervention.”
Bowser asked for the U.S Secretary of Defense to send 150 national guards to aid NGOs with the processing and aid of the migrants arriving in the city; the mayor also asked for the military to use its resources to transport migrants to the DC armory and process the migrants from there. According to NBC reporter Mark Segraves, the city sent the letter to the federal government nine days ago and has yet to receive an official reply from the Secretary of Defense.
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A few weeks ago, in an interview on Face the Nation, Bowser also said she has been talking with the federal government to “work across state lines to prevent people from really being tricked into getting on buses” to the capital. The mayor has also criticized the governors of Texas and Arizona for sending the buses to the city, calling them in her letter to Secretary Austin “abhorrent operations.”
The Washington migrant crisis highlights the situation at the border.
At least 4,000 migrants have arrived in D.C after governors from border states like Texas and Arizona have sent dozens of buses packed with migrants to big Democratic cities like New York City and Washington. Bowser’s request to activate the national guard comes just a few days after the mayor of New York, Eric Adams, blamed migrants for the lack of shelter facilities for homeless people in the city; Adams has also asked for federal assistance to address the issue.
The uptick of migrants in the nation’s capital, Venezuela, is happening as record-breaking numbers of migrants are crossing the southern border during the last three months. According to Border Patrol data, there have been more than 800,000 encounters on the border in the previous four months of FY2022. To put these into context, during the most significant border surge of the Trump administration in FY2019, Border Patrol registered 977,509 encounters during the entire year.
Unlike the surge of migrants in other years, a substantial amount of those who are crossing the southern border do not come from Mexico or the northern triangle nations (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador) but come from other countries, as CBP data shows that more than 350,000 of the encounters in the southern border in the last four months are from migrants from different nationalities. Just in the first nine months of FY2022, more than 269,000 encounters on the south of the border are from people coming from Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Haiti.
Bowser’s and Adams’ cries for federal help to address the flow of migrants in their cities mark a new stage of the situation at the border, putting more political pressure on the Biden Administration to get the problem under control as now Democrat majors are also complaining over the financial strains the flow of migrants is bringing to their cities.