D.C. Council votes to create office to support bused migrants

Media Credit: File Photo by Arielle Bader

About 9,400 migrants have been bused to D.C. from Texas and Arizona since April.

The D.C. Council voted unanimously to approve the creation of the Office of Migrant Services Tuesday, which will provide short-term assistance for migrants who have been bused to D.C. from Texas and Arizona after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office wrote the Migrant Services and Supports Emergency Act of 2022, which authorizes the use of $10 million to establish the office within the D.C. Office of Human Services and provide asylum-seekers in the District with food, shelter, clothing, transportation and legal services. Bowser declared a public emergency and proposed forming the office three weeks ago in response to Governors Greg Abbott (R-TX) Doug Ducey (R-AZ) sending about 9,400 migrants from their states to D.C. since April.

“This is a new challenge for D.C., 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,” Bowser said in a statement.

Republican governors have bused and flown migrants who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to liberal bastions across the United States in a political stunt to draw attention to migrant crossings.

Bowser previously said the influx of asylum seekers in the District was a “growing humanitarian crisis” when she requested the U.S. Department of Defense activate the D.C. National Guard twice and was denied both times. Bowser said D.C. will be seeking reimbursement for funding the new office from the federal government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Regardless of the federal response — which I think has been lacking in some respects — that the District of Columbia would continue to work with partners to advance what we need and ensure our systems in D.C. are not broken by a crisis that is certainly not of our making,” Bowser said in a press conference earlier this month.

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