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Brianne Nadeau, a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, blamed the governors of Texas and Arizona for the city’s public migrant emergency.
Speaking in a situational update on migrant support alongside Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, she said Thursday that the city’s systems were not set up to serve the migrants that continue to arrive in the city from the southern states.
“So, it’s been said, but it’s worth reiterating, that the governors of Texas and Arizona have created this crisis. And, the federal government has not stepped up to assist the District of Columbia,” she told reporters. “So we, along with our regional leaders, we’ll do what we’ve always done. We’ll rise to the occasion.”
Nadeau noted that there was no timeframe for how long the migrant arrivals would continue. They’ve also been sent to New York City in recent months.
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“We’ve learned from border towns, like El So and Brownsville. And, in many ways, the governors of Texas and Arizona have turned us into a border town,” she said.
Bowser made the emergency declaration, setting aside funding to accommodate migrants as well as creating the Office of Migrant Services.
The OMS will be tasked with providing temporary accommodations, urgent medical needs, transportation and other services.
“We’re putting in place a framework that would allow us to have a coordinated response with our partners,” she said. “This will include a program to meet all buses, and given that most people will move on, our primary focus is to make sure we have a humane, efficient, welcoming process that will allow people to move on to their final destination.”
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“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 DC are not broken by a crisis that is certainly not of our making,” Bowser added.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sent dozens of busloads of immigrants to the major cities and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has followed suit.
Abbott said border communities in the Lone Star State are overwhelmed, citing the “sanctuary” city policies as justification for sending immigrants north.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams sent a “fact-finding” delegation to the Texas border earlier in the week.
Acesparks’ Anders Hagstrom and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.