In response to the buses of immigrants and refugees being brought into the city by the Republican governors of the border states of Arizona and Texas, the mayor of Washington, D.C., on Thursday, proclaimed a 15-day public emergency.
In order to organize the “humanitarian crisis” that Republicans have caused and which looks to be intended to humiliate Joe Biden’s administration in the lead-up to the midterm elections, Muriel Bowser revealed plans to establish an office of migrant affairs.
Since April, Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, has dispatched at least 9,400 migrants to Washington in an effort to shift the blame for border crossers to Democrats. Many more people have been transported by bus to Chicago and New York City. Doug Ducey of Arizona has deployed at least 1,500 individuals to the capital since the middle of August, following suit.
The new office will provide basic necessities to incoming migrants and refugees, such as food, transportation, emergency medical attention, and transportation to help connect to resettlement facilities, according to Bowser, a Democrat. To establish the new office and to support nonprofits that are already assisting the recent newcomers, Bowser will allot $10 million.
Non-profit employees who welcome newcomers at the bus station believe that up to 15% of them stay because they have nowhere else to go while the majority of newcomers go to another state.
Bowser said staff members were “working rapidly” but provided no timetable for the new office.
She urged the federal government to take the lead in responding to the “increasing humanitarian disaster” and criticized the Republican governors for playing political games. “The District of Columbia will continue to collaborate with partners to advance the assistance we require and make sure our systems in DC are not shattered by a crisis that is definitely not of our making,” Bowser said. “Regardless of the government reaction, which I think has been weak in some aspects.”
Bowser is given extra authority and flexibility by the time-limited emergency declaration, which the city council may prolong. This enables officials to mobilize personnel and resources more quickly and apply for financial aid from the federal government.
In Washington, at least 250 buses had already arrived. The decision has made the US capital a de facto border state while costing taxpayers in Arizona and Texas tens of millions of dollars.
The Bowser administration has already come under fire from volunteers for delegating duty to the federal government and failing to provide sufficient assistance for those remaining in Washington.