Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s call for the National Guard to be activated to assist with an influx of migrants she described as a “humanitarian crisis” has sparked pushback from border officials and lawmakers, who say that what is now facing D.C. is only a fraction of the chaos that has been hitting border states for months.
“We are focused, and we continue to be very focused on having the federal government do its part and take the lead in what we see as a growing humanitarian crisis with people who are seeking asylum coming across the country to get to their final destinations,” Bowser said Thursday.
Both Bowser and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have sounded the alarm about migrants being sent to their cities, with both mayors blaming Arizona and Texas for the influx. (Arizona has denied sending migrants to NYC.)
Bowser said that D.C. has secured FEMA’s involvement with a more than $1 million grant to set up a “respite center” for migrants hitting D.C. Bowser is asking that the DC Armory be used as a processing center and DC National Guard resources be used to help field migrants as they arrive by bus.
“I’ve also asked the Secretary of the Army to deploy the D.C. National Guard to help lead that effort,” she said, before adding that she expects the crisis to “escalate.”
“The number of people crossing the border, seeking asylum, we expect only to go up and we need to make sure there is a national response,” she said.
But for officials and border state lawmakers, they saw both hypocrisy and misappropriated blame from the liberal mayor — as they pointed to the millions of migrant encounters since President Biden took office.
“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,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said in a statement.
“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. The true ongoing humanitarian crisis is along our southern border,” he said.
More than 200,000 migrants have hit the border in each of the last four months, with more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in FY21, and this fiscal year looking to outpace that number. It has led to some officials describing the situation as an “invasion” and calling for states to take matters into their own hands.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who said the crisis could be called an invasion earlier this year, described Bowser’s comments as “the height of hypocrisy.”
“Shame on all the liberal mayors that did nothing and said nothing while we saw a record amount of people illegally entering into our country, while we saw a record amount of fentanyl and other drugs pouring into our country,” he said. “They didn’t care, or they ignored it until it literally came to their front door.”
Former acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan told Fox News Digital that Bowser’s comments were “laughable” and “insulting” to those towns and cities that have been at the forefront of the crisis.
“It’s absolutely insulting to the border communities and towns that are being overrun and overwhelmed every single day. And they have been since the first day of this administration,” he said.
“They are literally being overrun. From a financial perspective, from a resource perspective and from a safety and security perspective — and some of these are small counties — they are literally being overrun,” he said. “And now that the mayor of D.C., after a few thousand, is going to now come out after all this time and declare a crisis and that she needs more money, it’s absolutely hypocritical — and I would say insulting to the border towns and communities.”
Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd, who has called for Texas Gov. Abbott to declare the border crisis an “invasion,” told Fox News Digital: “If Mayor Bowser wants to see what a real humanitarian crisis looks like, she is welcome to come to Texas and witness one first hand.”
“Tens of thousands of illegal aliens enter Texas every day. Our communities along the border are overrun with criminal aliens. The bodies of illegal aliens abandoned by their smugglers are found every week throughout South Texas,” he said. “Threats and violent actions of cartels have caused landowners and homeowners to abandon the property they worked all of their lives for. Texans along the border live in perpetual crisis as a result of the Administration’s open border policy.”
“If Mayor Bowser believes that her city is being overwhelmed with illegal aliens, she should join us in declaring an invasion and deport her unwanted guests to New York,” he added.
Brnovich, meanwhile, suggested that Bowser’s comments may indicate a movement from a growing number of Democrats on their approach to the crisis on the southern border. He said he had been “pleasantly surprised” by the number of Democrats who opposed the ending of expulsions under the Title 42 public health order.
“So I do think there has been some awareness by more and more folks of the impact this is having on a humanitarian level, on a crime level, and just the fact that there’s a realization from these liberal mayors that what Joe Biden has done is not humane, it’s insane,” he said. “And frankly, there is a side of me that says they deserve to experience what border states and communities have been feeling for the last year.”
Fox News’ Timothy H.J. Nerozzi and Bill Melugin contributed to this report.