WASHINGTON — Editor's Note: The video above was published on July 29, 2022.
The Pentagon rejected a request from the District of Columbia seeking National Guard assistance in what the mayor has called a “growing humanitarian crisis” prompted by thousands of migrants being bused to the city from two southern states.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin declined to provide Guard personnel and the use of the D.C. Armory to assist with the reception of migrants into the city, according to U.S. defense officials.
In July, Bowser formally asked for an open-ended deployment of 150 National Guard members per day as well as a “suitable federal location” for a mass housing and processing center, mentioning the D.C. Armory as a logical candidate.
In a joint press conference with Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the National Guard did not approve of the "open-ended nature" of the request. She continued to say if DC was considered a state, she would have already had the resources needed to fight against what she calls a "growing humanitarian crisis."
"If we were a state, I would have already done it," Bowser said. "I would have deployed the National Guard."
The crisis began in April when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, both Republicans, announced plans to send 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.
Experts estimate that as many as 200 buses have arrived in the District, delivering more than 4,000 migrants to Union Station. The migrants are typically left behind without any food, water or resources on housing.
Ana Karina Arce Polano, an asylum seeker from Venezuela, is a mother of two who arrived in D.C. last month on one of the buses. She told WUSA9 that a man in a badge and uniform, in Texas, told her family they would be sent to Colorado after they got to D.C. She said that ultimately did not happen.
"We arrived here with faith to give them a better life and it turns out that we do not even have a place to sleep and no way to get where we want to go,” she said.
Barbara Diaz, an asylum seeker and mother of three from Venezuela, also said a Texas official told her family someone in D.C. would ultimately provide her family with a bus ride or flight to Chicago.
“But it was all a lie,” she said.
Spokespersons from the offices of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have denied the accusations that migrants are being misled.
“The only lie is the Biden Administration telling the American people that our border is closed," Abbot's press secretary, Renae Eze, said in an email statement. "President Biden’s open border policies have created an ongoing humanitarian crisis, with record-high illegal crossings and deadly drugs like fentanyl flooding into our state."
- 'Cruel political gamesmanship' | DC mayor requests local national guard to help prevent humanitarian crisis of people seeking asylum
- Texas denies it misled any asylum seekers it bused north to DC
- 'Chaos' | DC Council, non-profits call on Mayor Bowser to assist migrants bused from Texas
- 'A lie' | Some migrants say they're being bused to DC under false pretenses
One woman told WUSA9 that Texas officials them her that people in DC would help her get to her destination. "But it was all a lie."