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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Pentagon turns down request for help for migrants in Washington

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The Pentagon has rejected a request from the District of Columbia’s National Guard, in what the mayor called a “growing humanitarian crisis” due to the two states sending thousands of migrants in buses to the capital. in the south.

Defense officials said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has refused to use Guard personnel and DC armory and arena facilities to receive migrants in the capital.

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was discussing an unannounced decision, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) food and shelter program provided funding to tackle the problem and indicated Given that those funds are sufficient.

Mayor Muriel Bowser formally asked the White House last month for an indefinite contingent of 150 National Guard soldiers a day as well as a “suitable federal space” for a mass housing and processing center, citing the Armory as the logical candidate. was given.

The crisis began in the spring when Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced plans to send migrants to Washington in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to lift the immigration-era order. Pandemic which restricted the number of migrants entering the country.

The city estimates that more than 200 buses have arrived to drop about 4,000 migrants at Union Station, many of them without the resources or idea of ​​next steps.

With $1 million in aid from FEMA, a coalition of local charities is working to feed and house migrants. But organizers have warned that there is going to be a shortage of their resources and staff.

“This reliance on nonprofits is not sustainable: they are overwhelmed and under-resourced,” Bowser said in his letter. The mayor has repeatedly said that the influx is hurting his government’s ability to serve its homeless and now requires a federal response.

Bowser accused Abbott and Ducey of a “brutal political game” and said that both “decided to use desperate people to gain political points.”

The mayor does not have authority to order the deployment of the National Guard, an issue that has taken an emotional charge in recent years as a status symbol of a district less than a state.

His limited authority played a role in the January 6, 2021 attack on Capitol Hill by supporters of former President Donald Trump. When it became clear that Capitol Police were overwhelmed by the crowd, Bowser was unable to immediately deploy the District Guard. Instead, significant time was lost when the Pentagon considered the request, and protesters were able to storm the building.

World Nation News Desk
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