Chris Lieberman, FISM News
The Pentagon has rejected a request from Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to deploy National Guard troops to the nation’s capital to assist with immigrants being bused from Texas and Arizona.
In a letter obtained by several news outlets, the Pentagon argued that the D.C. National Guard (DCNG) is not equipped for this type of assignment, and that deployment would affect combat readiness, writing, “The DCNG has no specific experience in or training for this kind of mission or unique skills for providing facility management, feeding, sanitation or ground support.”
“Approval of this request would also result in a substantial readiness impact to the DCNG,” the letter went on to say. “Devoting the personnel or the facility for such an extended mission would force the cancellation or disruption of military training.”
Bowser initially submitted a request to the Pentagon on July 19 to deploy 150 National Guard troops per day to help the city manage the influx of immigrants. She also asked for a “suitable federal location” to house immigrants, suggesting the D.C. armory as a possibility.
The Pentagon rejected the first request on Aug. 4, stating that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was already supplying sufficient resources to address the problem and that the armory was not air conditioned and would require expensive changes in order to make it suitable to house the migrants.
Bowser then submitted an amended, “more specific” request on Aug. 11, asking for the National Guard to be deployed for 90 days. That request was again denied Monday, with the Pentagon encouraging D.C. to continue to work with FEMA and non-governmental organizations to help deal with the problem.
Bowser responded to the rejection on Twitter, saying, “We are going to move forward with our planning to ensure that when people are coming through DC on their way to their final destination that we have a humane setting for them.”
The capital’s migrant issues began this spring when Govs. Greg Abbot of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona, both Republicans, began busing migrants from their states to Democrat-run cities like D.C. and New York to protest the Biden administration’s immigration policies that they say have caused the present crisis at the border.
Since April, Texas has bused more than 7,000 immigrants to D.C., and Arizona has sent an additional 1,500.
The governors maintain that the immigrants are being bused voluntarily, and that these trips are bringing migrants closer to family and support networks. But Bowser has accused Texas and Arizona of tricking riders into getting on the buses, not dropping them off at the promised destination, and failing to give instructions on what to do once they arrive.
Critics of the busing policy claim that the move is taking advantage of migrants for the purpose of a political stunt. But Abbot and Ducey argue that their states are bearing the brunt of the border crisis that has resulted from Biden’s immigration policies, and the Democratic lawmakers who support these policies should be responsible to assist with the resulting influx of immigrants.
Bowser has used the Pentagon’s rejection letter to renew calls for D.C. statehood. While state governors can call upon the state’s National Guard troops at any time without needing to ask permission, as a mayor, Bowser does not have that authority and must ask for Pentagon approval first.