DC seeks assistance from National Guard amid migrant influx
WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia has requested National Guard assistance to help stem a “growing humanitarian crisis” prompted by thousands of migrants sent to the nation’s capital by the governors of Texas and Arizona.
Mayor Muriel Bowser formally asked the White House last week for an openended deployment of 150 National Guard members per day as well as “suitable federal location” for a mass housing and processing center, mentioning the D.C. Armory as a possibility. The mayor met July 21 with White House Homeland Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
The crisis began in spring when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to send busloads of migrants to Washington in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that restricted the number of migrants entering the country.
Since then the city estimates that nearly 200 buses have arrived, delivering more than 4,000 migrants to Union Station, often with no resources and not knowing what to do next.
A coalition of local charitable groups has been working to feed and shelter the migrants, aided by a $1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But organizers have been warning that both their resources and personnel were nearing exhaustion.
“This reliance on NGOs is not working and is unsustainable — they are overwhelmed and underfunded,”
Bowser said in her letter. She has repeatedly stated that the influx was stressing her government’s ability to care for its own homeless residents.
The country’s monkeypox outbreak can still be stopped, U.S. health officials said Thursday, despite rising case numbers and limited vaccine supplies.
The Biden administration’s top health official pushed back against criticism about the pace of the response and worries that the U.S. has missed the window to contain the virus, which has been declared a global emergency.
“We believe we have done everything we can at the federal level to work with our state and local partners and communities affected to make sure we can stay ahead of this and end this outbreak,” said Xavier Becerra, head of the Department of Health and Human Services.
But he also said local health officials “must do their part . ... We don’t have the authority to tell them what to do.”
The pushback from federal leaders came as they announced distribution plans for 780,000 shots of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine.
The doses will be allocated to states, cities and other localities based on their case numbers and the size of their populations that are considered high-risk for the disease.
A man accused of raping and impregnating a 9-year-old Ohio girl who traveled to Indiana for an abortion was ordered held without bond Thursday by a judge who cited overwhelming evidence and that he apparently
Child abortion case:
is living in the U.S. illegally.
Gerson Fuentes, 27, faces two counts of raping the girl, who turned 10 before having the abortion in a case that has become a flashpoint in the national discussion about access to the procedure since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24. He has pleaded not guilty.
If convicted, Fuentes, who is from Guatemala, faces the possibility of life in prison with no chance of parole.
The case gained national attention after an Indianapolis physician, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, said the child had to travel to Indiana due to Ohio banning abortions at the first detectable “fetal heartbeat” after the high court ruling.
Pope in Canada: Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Thursday in Quebec and faced a long-standing demand from Indigenous peoples: to formally rescind the papal decrees underpinning the so-called
“Doctrine of Discovery” that legitimized the colonial-era seizure of Native lands and resources.
Before Mass, two Indigenous women unfurled a banner at the altar of the National Shrine of SainteAnne-de-Beaupre that read: “Rescind the Doctrine” in red and black letters.
The protesters were escorted away and the Mass proceeded without incident, though the women later marched the banner out of the basilica and draped it on the railing.
The protest underscored one of the issues facing the Holy See following Francis’ historic apology for the Catholic Church’s involvement in Canada’s notorious residential schools, where generations of Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed from their families and cultures to assimilate them into Christian Canadian society.
Indigenous peoples have called on Francis to formally rescind the 15th century papal decrees that provided
European kingdoms the religious backing to expand their territories for the sake of spreading Christianity.
Those decrees have been seen as underpinning the Doctrine of Discovery, a legal concept coined in a 1823 U.S. Supreme Court decision that has come to be understood as meaning that ownership and sovereignty over land passed to Europeans because they “discovered” it.
Mega Millions: One of the nation’s biggest lottery prizes grew Thursday as the Mega Millions jackpot increased to an estimated $1.1 billion.
The increase ahead of Friday night’s drawing makes the jackpot the third largest, behind $1.5 billion prizes won in 2018 and 2016.
The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302.5 million.
The $1.1 billion prize is for players who get their winnings through an annuity, paid annually over 29 years.
Nearly all winners take the cash option, which for
Friday’s drawing is an estimated $648.2 million.
Grain ship: A Syrian cargo ship, sanctioned by the United States and carrying what Ukraine says is stolen barley from the war-torn country, has docked in Lebanon, the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in the Mideast nation said Thursday.
According to the Ukrainian Embassy in Beirut, the cargo vessel Laodicea docked in the port of Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city. It was carrying 5,000 tons of flour and 5,000 tons of barley, the embassy said.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned the Laodicea in 2015 for its affiliation with the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad.
Ukraine has accused Russia of plundering grain and steel from its territory since Moscow invaded the country on Feb. 24. The embassy in Beirut did not elaborate or say how the barley was purportedly stolen from Ukraine.