The Pentagon has again denied a request from the mayor of Washington, DC, for National Guard support in handling busloads of immigrants from Texas and Arizona who have entered the city.
In a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Pentagon said it “would not be appropriate” to use the DC National Guard and that the Defense Department “cannot fulfill your request.”
The rejection comes as the city is preparing to receive an influx of migrants who are being bused from overcrowded detention facilities in Texas and Arizona.
Mayor Bowser has said that the city is “fully prepared” to welcome the migrants and provide them with shelter, food, and other assistance.
The Pentagon’s decision not to provide National Guard assistance is likely to add to the city’s challenges in dealing with the migrants.
In late-July, Bowser requested assistance from the federal government when she claimed that Washington had reached a “tipping point” with the number of immigrants. Starting in April, Texas and Arizona’s governors began busing migrants north to protest President Joe Biden’s immigration policy.
The Pentagon rejected the first request in early August because it would reduce readiness for the DC National Guard and that FEMA had already granted funding through its Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
In a letter to Bowser dated August 18, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said the Pentagon “appreciates the offers of assistance” but that it is “not best-suited” to provide the requested support.
Miller also said the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to address the situation and that additional National Guard support is not “necessary or appropriate at this time.”
The DC National Guard did provide assistance to the city in June when it was dealing with protests over the death of George Floyd. Bowser has said she does not believe the current situation is comparable to the unrest in June.
The Pentagon’s decision comes as the Trump administration is facing criticism for its handling of the migrant situation at the southern border. Last week, it was revealed that the administration had been catching and detaining migrant children in secret facilities without notifying their parents.
The Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday that it has now reunified all but six of the nearly 500 children who were in its custody. It is unclear where the remaining children are or how they will be reunified with their families.
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