Washington Mayor Requests National Guard Help to Deal With Illegal Immigrant Influx

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
July 28, 2022 Updated: July 29, 2022

Washington’s mayor has asked the U.S. government to activate the National Guard to help the city deal with the influx of illegal immigrants being transported from border states.

Describing the situation as “a growing humanitarian crisis,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters on July 28, “We need space and we need the federal government to be involved.”

The Guard would help with logistics, she added.

In a July 19 letter, D.C. Homeland Security Director Christopher Rodriguez asked the Department of Defense (DoD) for assistance from the D.C. National Guard “to help prevent a prolonged humanitarian crisis in the nation’s capital.”

Washington has received more than 4,000 illegal aliens from the states of Texas and Arizona since April, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott first authorized transportation for the illegal immigrants who accepted the free rides. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey authorized the transportation of illegal aliens in May.

In the month leading up to the letter, “the pace of arriving buses and the volume of arrivals have reached tipping points,” Rodriguez wrote, saying the system could be overwhelmed without federal intervention.

A spokesperson for Bowser’s office told The Epoch Times in an email that there has been no response yet from the Pentagon.

A Defense Department spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin received the request.

“The Secretary takes this request for assistance very seriously. He and his team are working through the details, and will respond to the mayor’s office as soon as a decision has been reached,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesman for the D.C. National Guard said that the force was aware of the request.

Only presidents have the authority to authorize National Guard deployment in Washington, and they must receive a request from local officials.

The White House didn’t respond to an inquiry.

Epoch Times Photo
Luis Alberto, one of the illegal immigrants who took a bus to Washington from Texas, speaks to a reporter at Union Station in Washington on April 13, 2022. (NTD Television)

Meeting With the White House

Bowser and members of her leadership team met with White House officials, including Liz Sherwood-Randall, the assistant to the president for homeland security, according to a July 21 missive that Bowser sent after the meeting.

Bowser said that the federal government should “assume leadership” in the handling of the illegal immigrants, including using a federal facility to house them.

“I have great empathy for the very difficult situation people boarding buses to unknow[n] locations are facing,” Bowser wrote. “I likewise am very concerned that the social safety net I am responsible for ensuring for D.C. residents is maintained. I know the President shares my empathy, and I look forward to working with the Administration to secure the [National Guard] and a federal facility to process migrants as they seek asylum and a better life in the United States of America free of uncertainty and fear.”

Abbott and Ducey, both Republicans, earlier this year began offering transportation to Washington for illegal aliens seeking asylum. Abbott has said that the program is a way to confront President Joe Biden with the effects of his immigration policies; under the relaxed rules, illegal immigration has exploded to record levels.

“Washington, D.C. finally understands what Texans have been dealing with every single day, as our communities are overrun and overwhelmed by thousands of illegal immigrants thanks to President Biden’s open border policies,” Renae Eze, press secretary for Abbott, told The Epoch Times via email.

“If the mayor wants a solution to this crisis, she should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border—something he has failed to do.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.