Bowser asks again for National Guard help as DC deals with influx of migrants

FILE - Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference March 15, 2022, in Washington. Bowser announced Thursday, April 7, that she tested positive for COVID-19, saying in a series of messages on Twitter that she was experiencing “mild cold-like” symptoms and would “work at home while following isolation protocols.” (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)(AP/Alex Brandon)

As the District continues to deal with an influx of migrants from the U.S. southern boarder, Mayor Muriel Bowser is again asking for help from the National Guard.

It is the second such request from Bowser, who was denied the first time by the Defense Department.

She said it was because her request was too open-ended. But a U.S. defense official said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s food and shelter program has provided funding for the problem, and has indicated those funds are sufficient at this point, according to the AP.

In her new request, Bowser clarified that the city is hoping for a 90-day deployment from the National Guard to provide “logistical support.”

“We need help from our federal partners as we seek to stabilize and manage our operating environment in this critical moment,” Bowser said.

While governors of states don’t need federal approval to call up members of the National Guard, Bowser needs the green light from the Defense Department because D.C. is not a state.

In her request, Bowser said she has asked for National Guard support about 50 times since she’s been mayor for various reasons including major events, severe weather and the pandemic.

“Each time, these operational, apolitical requests have been granted,” Bowser said. “I have been honored to work with these men and women to keep our nation’s capital safe in times of great stress.”

The District has been stretched thin, working to process thousands of migrants who have been bussed in by the governors of Texas and Arizona. They have been sending them to the nation’s capital as a way to protest immigration policies from the Biden administration.

“It’s about understanding their immediate needs, if they have medical needs, food, clothing and also final destinations,” said Abel Nuñez, executive director of the Central American Resource Center, which has been helping migrants when they arrive.

Nuñez said that most of the migrants don’t stay in the D.C. area and only need temporary assistance.

“Of the approximately 6,000 people that have arrived in our city, anywhere between 10% and 15% have stayed,” Nuñez said.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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