WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Even though the Department of Defense (DOD) rejected her request Friday to use the D.C. National Guard to help stem the tide of migrants coming into the District, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that city officials may have a chance to make another appeal.
The mayor addressed the issue – but sidestepped questions – about whether her request was a wise one, given that it seems to lend credence to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republicans that the country is overrun by migrants because of porous borders.
“What I see is we send an amended request. The Department of Defense highlighted a number of concerns about the open-ended nature of our request and their ability to respond to it,” Bowser said during a news conference. “So, I want to give them some more specific parameters to better able respond to our request.”
The Department of Defense provided this statement to DC News Now, explaining its decision:
The Secretary of Defense has declined to approve the DCHSEMA request for DCNG to provide personnel and the DC Armory to assist the NGO, SAMU First Response, with transportation and reception of migrants arriving in the DC area. We have determined providing this support would negatively impact the readiness of the DCNG and have negative effects on the organization and members. We understand SAMU First Response has received grant funding through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and has indicated that sufficient EFSP funds exist at this point to provide migrant assistance.
The DOD rejection comes days after Abbott invited Bowser and New York City Mayor Eric Adams to view the migrant situation at the Texas border. Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) have sent more than 4,000 migrants from the southern border to the capital to lambaste President Joe Biden over his immigration policies.
Bowser said she doesn’t want to see the D.C. National Guard “politicized” over the situation “that puts the District in unsafe territory.”
“So, we want to continue to work with the Department of Defense so that they understand our operational needs and to assure that any political considerations are not a part of their decisions,” Bowser stated.
In a question at the news conference about Abbott’s invitation, the mayor said, “I’m not talking about anything that is political in nature as it relates to how I operate the District’s homeless services system.”
“And I have done regardless of Republicans in Texas or Democrats on Pennsylvania Avenue, what I need to do to run this city, and when we have a growing, humanitarian crisis that we expect, that the federal government expects is going to only worsen, I have got to deploy the resources that I need to handle it,” she added. “And we need our national guard. If we were a state, I would have already done it. I would have deployed the national guard.”
The mayor said a federal site is needed to address ongoing busloads of people coming from border states and “stopping here on their way to where they’re going.”