Members of the National Guard walk past the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 4, 2021. The Defense Department on Friday refused D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser's request for National Guard help with migrants being bussed into the capital by Texas and Arizona. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 5 (UPI) -- The Pentagon has denied Washington, D.C., Mayor Murial Bowser's request to deploy the National Guard to assist with migrants being bussed into the nation's capital by governors in Arizona and Texas, military officials said Friday.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin declined the request, saying such a deployment "would negatively impact the readiness of the DCNG and have negative effects on the organization and members," a statement from the Defense Department said.
Bowser requested the federal help last month after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey began programs to send migrants who arrived at the southern border to Washington, D.C.
The programs were politically driven -- intended to draw attention to what the Republican leaders described as President Joe Biden's open-border policy.
While Biden has reversed some strict, Trump-era border laws -- such as a majority of the border wall construction -- his administration does enforce some border policies, focusing on deporting those committing crimes.
Bowser said she plans to ask for National Guard help again, but on more narrow terms.
"When the mayor of the District says she needs or he needs ... the D.C. National Guard to support the safe operation of our city, we expect a fair consideration," she said.
The Washington Post reported that volunteers who have been assisting migrants arriving on the busses disagreed with Bowser's request for help from the National Guard. They said the migrants need a place to sleep and food, not the military.
The Pentagon's decision comes the same day Abbott said Texas is now busing migrants from the border to New York City. He said they were expected to arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Friday morning.
Abbott invited Bowser and New York City Mayor Eric Adams to visit the border to observe the crisis first-hand, The Hill reported.