DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public emergency on Thursday due to the massive number of migrants who arrived in the District from Arizona and Texas.
Bowser announced that she was establishing an Office of Migrant Services, which will be responsible for providing support and services to asylum seekers that have been bused into the city.
The office will operate under the Department of Human Services and support DC nonprofits working for migrants, as well.
“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 statement.
“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,” she added.
DC will be able to achieve the following goals, through the Office of Migrant Services:
- Meet all buses and facilitate onward travel
- Triage the needs of people arriving in DC and attend to their basic needs
- Set up a system, distinct from the homeless services system, that is tailored to the needs of migrants
The mayor will send emergency legislation to the DC Council for the creation of the new office.
Bowser accused the governors of ‘tricking’ asylum seekers
Since April, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have been busing asylum-seekers into the District from their states in protest of President Joe Biden‘s immigration policies.
DC aid organizations are struggling to provide humanitarian assistance for the new arrivals as their number surpassed 5,000.
In July, Bowser said that the governors of Texas and Arizona were “tricking” asylum seekers into getting on buses headed to DC, even though their final destinations are all around the US.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced in late August an emergency appropriations bill in the House to provide $50 million in emergency aid for newly arriving migrants.
Another move came last week from DC Attorney General Karl Racine, who announced that his office has granted $150,000 to six local nonprofit organizations that support asylum-seekers and migrants, who have been bused into DC.