After the Pentagon denied the request last week, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser renewed her plead for support from the DC National Guard (DCNG) in dealing with migrants arriving in the city.
Bowser’s initial request was turned down by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who determined that deploying DCNG would have negative effects on the organization and members and would negatively impact its readiness.
According to media reports, Bowser’s request was also branded unnecessary by the frustrated White House and other aid organizations, who said it played into Republicans’ critics of Biden’s border policies.
They indicated that sufficient Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) funds exist at this point to provide migrant assistance and that SAMU First Response has received grant funding through FEMA’s EFSP.
Stressing she’s been honored to work with DCNG many times before, Bowser noted in a message on Twitter on Thursday that they need help from their federal partners in this critical moment to stabilize and manage their operating environment.
She added that during her tenure as mayor- which began in 2015 – she has requested support from the DCNG almost 50 times to keep the nation’s capital safe in times of great stress.
Mayor Bowser’s initial request was enticed by the arrival of thousands of illegal migrants that were being bused in from Texas and Arizona in a program initiated by Republican Govs. Greg Abbott and Doug Ducey in protest of President Biden’s border policy.
Noting that migrants have overwhelmed Washington DC’s resources, Bowser clarified in the renewed request that DCNG’s work in DC would be to help prevent a prolonged humanitarian crisis by establishing and managing “respite sites” to provide migrants with assistance as they travel to their final destination, often outside of the nation’s capital.
According to Bowser’s letter, the DCNG would assist DC with facility management, feeding, sanitation and ground support.