The Washington Post

Migrant wave is no reason for us to have our Guard up

- Petula Dvorak

Let’s get this sorted out.

When thousands of people wearing surplus store armor storm the city, many carrying bear spray and weapons, many more shouting for the overthrow of the government, that’s the time to call in the National Guard.

When thousands of people come in on buses carrying their worldly possession­s in a single bag, many holding crying babies in soiled diapers, many more with no shoes on their feet, that’s not the time for the National Guard.

This is how D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is responding, months into the ongoing political stunt being played by two Republican governors who think it’s hilarious to score political points on the backs of vulnerable people.

She’s asking for the National Guard.

“With pledges from Texas and Arizona to continue these abhorrent operations indefinite­ly, the situation is dire, and we consider this a humanitari­an crisis,” Bowser’s office said in a letter to the secretary of defense, asking for federal help.

In the past month, “the pace

of arriving buses and the volume of arrivals have reached tipping points,” the mayor’s letter, obtained by NBC News, said. “Our collective response and service efforts have now become overwhelme­d: the regional welcome center we helped establish in Montgomery County, Maryland is at capacity; our

homeless services system is already under great strain; and, tragically, many families arrive in Washington, D.C. with nowhere to go, or they remain in limbo seeking onward destinatio­ns across the United States.”

They want to use the D.C.

Armory as a processing center, staffed by unarmed personnel.

The aid workers who have been doing much of the work — greeting buses arriving at Union Station at all hours, getting the migrants clothing, diapers and food before working out the next steps on their paths to citizenshi­p — are mostly horrified by the prospect of working with the military.

“What I’ve been hearing consistent­ly from migrants is that when the military is there, they get treated like militants,” said Bianca Vazquez, who has been an organizer with the mutual-aid groups meeting the migrants.

As a nation, we have a history of militarizi­ng the immigratio­n process.

A fun trip to Ellis Island’s historical exhibits will show you some of the holding cells that migrants described as “kennels,” where aspiring Americans were caged for weeks, months or even years before they were processed.

In this latest, grim chapter of the way America chooses Americans, migrants have been bused to D.C. as a protest. It began in April, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced he would export his state’s chaos to

the nation’s capital after the Biden administra­tion’s ending of Title 42, the suspension of admission and asylum during the pandemic. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) soon joined in, sending buses of migrants from his state, too.

Buses come nearly every day, sometimes two or three a day, aid workers said. They’ve dropped off more than 4,000 immigrants so far, with plenty

more to come. And D.C. doesn’t have the resources to help everyone.

LOL?

ROTFL? Laugh-crying GIFS and emoji galore is how right-wingers are greeting Bowser’s request for help, believing that D.C. is finally getting a taste of what border states have been living for years now.

Let’s get something straight —

this crisis is not about handling crowds or lawbreaker­s.

We’ve been good hosts for years, America.

D.C. welcomes your fidgeting middle school tour groups, your loons, your extremists, the sex offenders and the addicts you send here to represent you in Congress.

We have posh steak houses for your egotists and specialty clubs of all flavors to satisfy their various kinks. Our police force is primo at spotting your drunk drivers, and they have flex cuffs for days when the protesters come to town. Our local DEA agents know where your congressma­n is getting his drugs.

The nation’s capital is very good at managing a daily influx of people.

But the 4,000 migrants aren’t just a crowd to be managed by the National Guard. This isn’t a policing problem or a military emergency.

These are vulnerable people who are here to make new lives for themselves — the very foundation­s of everything that is America. And what better place to do it than in Washington, D.C.?

The aid groups have asked for help creating a welcome center, funding housing programs and committing resources to help them begin the process of becoming legal Americans. Many of the migrants go on to family in New York, Boston and Iowa. And D.C. simply needs to do this as efficientl­y and morally as possible.

We’ve done it many times before, D.C. And we can do it again.

This is a humanitari­an crisis, and we need to approach it with humanity.

 ?? AMANDA ANDRADE-RHOADES FOR THE Washington Post ?? Migrants have a meal together after arriving at Union Station on July 12. More than 4,000 migrants have arrived on buses from Texas and Arizona, sent to D.C. by Republican governors.
AMANDA ANDRADE-RHOADES FOR THE Washington Post Migrants have a meal together after arriving at Union Station on July 12. More than 4,000 migrants have arrived on buses from Texas and Arizona, sent to D.C. by Republican governors.
 ?? ??
 ?? AMANDA ANDRADE-RHOADES FOR The Washington Post ?? A religious group distribute­s bread after migrants arrive at Union Station in D.C. on July 12. Aid workers have been doing much of the work since Texas and Arizona started busing migrants to the city.
AMANDA ANDRADE-RHOADES FOR The Washington Post A religious group distribute­s bread after migrants arrive at Union Station in D.C. on July 12. Aid workers have been doing much of the work since Texas and Arizona started busing migrants to the city.

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