Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public emergency in response to the thousands of migrants being bused to the nation's capital from Texas and Arizona.
The declaration gives Bowser more power and flexibility to manage the situation created in response to the inability to police the migrant surge at the southern border.
The mayor also announced that $10 million will be used to establish an Office of Migrant Services to provide support and services to migrants. The new office will be within the Department of Human Services and will provide support and services to non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
"With this plan, we are staying true to our DC values and building a system that will support a compassionate, consistent, and well-coordinated response," Bowser said in a release.
"This is a new challenge for DC, but I feel confident that if we lead with our values, and if we put the right systems in place — which we are doing with the Office of Migrant Services, then we will lead a response that makes our community proud."
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott began busing migrants to Washington, D.C., in April after the Biden administration said it would end Title 42 deportations.
Several weeks later, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey also began busing migrants from the southern border to Washington, D.C.
The Department of Defense, as it previously did in July, last month refused Bowser's request to deploy the National Guard troops and use the D.C. Armory to help with the migrants.
Bowser said the new office will help D.C. set up a framework to:
- Meet all buses and facilitate onward travel.
- Triage the needs of people arriving in Washington, D.C. and attend to their basic needs.
- Set up a system, distinct from the homeless services system, that is tailored to the needs of migrants and ensures D.C.’s response is consistent and well-coordinated.
"The Office of Migrant Services will provide support with reception, respite, meals, temporary accommodations, urgent medical needs, transportation to final destinations, connection to resettlement services, translation services, and other needs as they are determined," Bowser's release said.
"The District is allocating an initial $10 million to stand up the new office and support organizations working in the field, and we will seek reimbursement from the federal government."
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