DC Mayor Bowser declares public health emergency over migrants being bused from Arizona, Texas

As estimated 11,000 migrants have arrived in the nation's capital since the busing began.

Updated: September 8, 2022 - 1:13pm

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D.C. Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday declares a public health emergency in response to migrants being sent by bus to the nation's capital from southwest border states Arizona and Texas. 

In addition to declaring the emergency, the mayor said her administration is creating a department to address the arrival of an estimated tens-of-thousands of immigrants in the past weeks and months. 

"We’re putting in place a framework that would allow us to have a coordinated response with our partners,” Bowser said at the press briefing, according to news blog site DCist.

She said most of those who arrive in the District will "move on," but the program and its primary focus will be to "make sure we have a humane, efficient, welcome process that will allow people to move on to their final destination.”

The Washington Post reports that GOP Govs. Greg Abbott, of Texas, and Doug Ducey, of Arizona, have sent hundreds of busses carrying nearly 11,000 migrants to D.C.

Abbott has said his effort is to try to reduce some of the economic burden his state is under in trying to accommodate the record number of immigrants now crossing the border. But he's also made clear that sending migrants to major U.S. cities is to make the political point that the country's immigration problems are national, not regional or local.

Bowser has requested help from the D.C. National Guard to assist with the arrival of migrants, but the requests have been denied by the Pentagon, citing Guardsmen not prepared for such duty and jeopardizing troop readiness.

“Regardless of the federal response – which I think has been lacking in some respects – that the District of Columbia would continue to work with partners to advance what we need and ensure our systems in D.C. are not broken by a crisis that is certainly not of our making,” Bowser also said.

The new office will be called Office of Migrant Services and will be placed within the city's Department of Human Services. Bowser will allocate $10 million to crate the new office and will get reimbursement for part of at funding through FEMA, DCist reports. 

Bowser has yet to announce a timeline for the office to open.