September 27, 2022

The Defense Department has rejected D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request for National Guard help with the influx of immigrants created by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s busing of immigrants into the city, according to a letter reviewed by NBC News.

The letter, from the executive secretary of the Department of Defense, said the city has sufficient funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that has been given to D.C. nonprofits that can provide immigrants with shelter and other services.

“After careful consideration, the Department has concluded that it is unable to fulfill your request,” Kelly Bulliner Holly told Christopher Rodriguez, director of DC’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“I understand that a non-governmental organization, SAMU First Response, has received a federal grant through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program from FEMA for this mission. Specifically, this program complements funding for humanitarian relief efforts by government and social organizations for the purpose of providing shelter and support services to families and individuals,” the letter said.

Abbott, a Republican who has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s border policies, began sending immigrants on buses paid for by Texas taxpayers to D.C. in April. On Friday, it also began sending migrants to New York.

Department of Homeland Security officials say Abbott’s involvement has complicated the normal processing of immigrants at the border, where immigrants typically receive notices to appear in court and pay their own transportation to cities where they will attend immigration proceedings. In most cases, immigrants choose cities based on where they have family members or other sponsors to live with while they await a decision on their immigration case.

Didi Martinez and Dan De Luce contributed.

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