Washington mayor declares public emergency over migrant arrivals from Texas, Arizona

Migrants who boarded a bus in Texas are dropped off within view of the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, on Aug 11, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday declared a public emergency over buses of migrants sent by Republican governors from the US-Mexico border states of Texas and Arizona.

Bowser, a Democrat, issued an order to support arriving migrants by creating a new Office of Migrant Affairs and will devote US$10 million (S$14 million) to launch the office.

Bowser said she would seek reimbursement from the federal government.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has sent more than 7,600 migrants to Washington, DC, since April in an effort to push responsibility for border crossers to Democrats, including US President Joe Biden.

Arizona as of mid-August had sent about 1,500. Texas has also sent migrants to New York City and Chicago.

Bowser's office called the busing a "political stunt."

Around 85-90 per cent of migrants arriving in Washington on the buses continue to other US destinations within hours or days, according to volunteers who assist them.

Bowser said the city is preparing for border crossings to increase in the fall and for Texas and Arizona to send hundreds of additional buses to Washington.

"The crisis at the border is not lessening, it's getting worse," she said.

Nearly 100 migrant families are currently being housed in hotels in Washington through the city's shelter system, she said.

Republican governors have sent thousands of migrants on buses to Washington, DC, since April in an effort to push responsibility for border crossers to Democrats, including US President Joe Biden.
PHOTO: AFP

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