Pentagon rejects DC mayor’s request for National Guard to assist migrants arriving in nation’s capital

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied the request because the MoD “determined that providing this support would negatively impact DCNG’s readiness and have adverse effects on the organization and its members. “, said the official.

The official said the grants provided through FEMA’s emergency food and shelter program were sufficient. “We understand that EMS First Response has received a grant through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program and advised that sufficient FESP funds exist at this stage to provide assistance to migrants.”

Bowser told reporters on Friday that she wanted to continue working with the Pentagon to make sure political considerations “are not part of their decision.”

The Democrat, who has served as the district’s mayor under U.S. presidents of both parties, alluded to the use of the National Guard during the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising at the U.S. Capitol: “Having the experience where the use of the DC National Guard has been politicized, which puts the district in dangerous territory,” she told reporters on Friday.

“We want to continue to work with the Ministry of Defense so that they understand our operational needs and ensure that any political considerations are not part of their decision,” she added.

In a letter from the Department of Defense, Bowser said the Pentagon had highlighted “concern about the open nature of our request and its ability to respond to it.”

“So after looking at their letter, they seem to be saying that a more specific request would help them understand our needs,” Bowser added.

According to the office of Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, more than 6,500 migrants arrived in Washington from Texas on more than 160 buses.

The city facilitated assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a $1 million grant, the mayor said at a news conference last week.

However, city officials and non-governmental organizations have become increasingly concerned about the pace of arrivals in recent weeks. The mayor’s office has asked to convert the DC Armory, Joint Base Bolling, Fort McNair or other “appropriate federal location in the National Capital Region” into a processing center for migrants. The regional welcome center set up to help migrants in Montgomery County, Maryland, is at capacity, based on demand.

“I have requested the deployment of the Guard as long as we need the Guard to deal with the crisis that we expect to escalate,” Bowser said last week. “We expect the number of people crossing the border seeking asylum to only increase. And we need to make sure there is a national response, not an ad hoc, city-by-city, state response. by state.”

Bowser also pointed out the differences in the situation in DC compared to other states.

“We have to ask the president for the use of our national guard, which we know can be very helpful in these logistical matters,” she said at the time.

This story has been updated with additional details.

Priscilla Alvarez, Sonnet Swire and CNN’s Colin McCullough contributed to this report.

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