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The White House says it has had “constructive conversations” with Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser after she described an influx of migrants into the city as a “humanitarian crisis” and called for the National Guard to be deployed — amid reports that White House officials are frustrated with her comments.
Bowser, along with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, have been sounding the alarm about thousands of illegal immigrants — some of whom have been bussed in from Texas — into their cities, which they say is straining their social safety nets.
“We are focused, and we continue to be very focused on having the federal government do its part and take the lead in what we see as a growing humanitarian crisis with people who are seeking asylum coming across the country to get to their final destinations,” Bowser said last week.
Bowser also said that D.C. had secured a $1 million grant to have FEMA set up a “respite center” for migrants hitting the capital — she is also requesting that the D.C. Armory be used as a processing center and National Guard resources be used to help migrants as they arrive on buses.
“I’ve also asked the Secretary of the Army to deploy the D.C. National Guard to help lead that effort,” she said, before adding that she expects the crisis to “escalate.”
“The number of people crossing the border seeking asylum, we expect only to go up, and we need to make sure there is a national response,” she said.
Reuters reported Thursday that the comments had caused tensions with the White House. Officials had disagreed with her portrayal of a “crisis” — a word the administration has shied away from when describing the border — and described her request as unnecessary.
A White House official told Fox News Digital: “We have had constructive conversations with Mayor Bowser and her team, and are committed to working with her and her team just as we do effectively with other local leaders.”
“As we have said repeatedly, Republican governors using desperate migrants as political tools is shameful and it is wrong,” the official said.
The comments echo those made last week by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who also sought to blame Republicans for the situation in the two Democrat-run cities.
“There is a process in place for managing migrants at the border; this is not it — what they’re doing currently,” she told reporters at a press briefing. “That includes expelling migrants as required by court order under Title 42, transferring them to ICE custody, or placing them in the care of local NGOs as they await further processing…Again, so what Republicans are doing, the way that they’re meddling in the process and using migrants as a political pawn, is just wrong.”
Republican officials at the border had pushed back strongly against the condemnation coming from Washington D.C., saying the few thousand migrants that D.C. and New York are dealing with pales in comparison with the hundreds of thousands of migrants border states are dealing with every month.
“Washington D.C. finally understands what Texans have been dealing with every single day, as our communities are overrun and overwhelmed by thousands of illegal immigrants thanks to President Biden’s open border policies,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said in a statement.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich described Bowser’s comments as “the height of hypocrisy.”
“Shame on all the liberal mayors that did nothing and said nothing while we saw a record amount of people illegally entering into our country, while we saw a record amount of fentanyl and other drugs pouring into our country,” he told Fox News Digital. “They didn’t care, or they ignored it until it literally came to their front door.”