WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon rejected a request from the District of Columbia in search of National Guard help in what the mayor has known as a “growing humanitarian crisis” prompted by hundreds of migrants being bused to the town from two southern states.

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin declined to supply Guard personnel and the usage of the D.C. Armory to help with the reception of migrants into the town, in line with U.S. protection officers. Mayor Muriel Bowser stated Friday that the district might ship an amended, “more specific” request, including that she believes that is the primary time a D.C. request for National Guard has been denied.

One official, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate a call not but made public, stated that the Federal Emergency Administration Company’s meals and shelter program has supplied funding for the issue, and has indicated these funds are ample at this level.

Bowser, the district’s Democratic mayor, formally asked the White House last month for an open-ended deployment of 150 National Guard members per day in addition to a “suitable federal location” for a mass housing and processing heart, mentioning the D.C. Armory as a logical candidate.

In the course of the spring, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, each Republicans, introduced plans to ship busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that restricted migrant entry numbers by denying them an opportunity to hunt asylum. The rule stays in impact beneath courtroom order.

On Friday, Abbott stated the primary group of migrants from his state had now been bused to New York as effectively.

As of mid-July, about 5,200 migrants had been bused from Texas to D.C. since April. As of Aug. 3, greater than 1,300 had been despatched from Arizona since Could. The governors name the follow a voluntary free journey – paid for by state taxpayers — that will get migrants nearer to household or assist networks.

However Bowser final month dismissed that characterization, saying that the asylum-seekers are being “tricked,” as many don’t get shut sufficient to their ultimate locations and a few are ditched at Union Station close to the U.S. Capitol and the White Home. Usually they arrive with no sources and no clue what to do subsequent.

On Friday, Bowser advised reporters that the Pentagon seems to be involved “about the open-ended nature of our request.” and that a more specific one would help.

“We want to continue to work with the Department of Defense so that they understand our operational needs and to assure that political considerations are not a part of their decision,” Bowser said, adding that she believes the ”crisis” will solely worsen. “We need the National Guard. If we were a state, I would have already done it.”

A coalition of local charitable groups has been working to feed and shelter the migrants, aided by a $1 million grant from FEMA. But organizers have been warning that both their resources and personnel were nearing exhaustion.

“This reliance on NGOs is not working and is unsustainable — they are overwhelmed and underfunded,” Bowser said in her letter. She has repeatedly stated that the influx is stressing her government’s ability to care for its own homeless residents and now requires a federal response.

Bowser sharply criticized Abbott and Ducey, accusing them of “cruel political gamesmanship” and saying the pair had “decided to use desperate people to score political points.”

Explaining his decision to add New York City as a destination, Abbott said that Biden’s “refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies” forced Texas to “take unprecedented motion to maintain our communities secure.”

He stated the migrants are being dropped off on the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

“In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city,” Abbott said.

In response, Fabien Levy, spokesman for Adams, tweeted that Abbott’s “continued use of human beings as political pawns is disgusting. NYC will continue to welcome asylum seekers w/ open arms, as we have always done, but we still need support from DC.”

As mayor of D.C., Bowser doesn’t have the authority to personally order a National Guard deployment, a problem that has turn into emotionally charged in recent times as an emblem of the district’s entrenched standing as lower than a state.

Her limited authority performed a job within the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. When it turned clear that Capitol Police have been overmatched by the crowds, Bowser couldn’t instantly deploy the district guard. As an alternative, essential time was misplaced whereas the request was thought-about contained in the Pentagon, and protesters rampaged by means of the constructing.


Related Press author Ashraf Khalil in Washington, Karen Matthews in New York Metropolis and Bob Christie in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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