(NewsNation) — The battle between Texas and two sanctuary cities is continuing to rage as Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott continues busing migrants out of state in hopes of calling attention to the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
More buses carrying migrants from Texas arrived in New York and Washington, D.C., on Thursday, sparking anger and calls for federal assistance from local officials.
The mayors of both cities are calling for help from the federal government to bring in resources to prevent what they call “a prolonged humanitarian crisis.”
Abbott has maintained his efforts are in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that restricted migrant entry numbers by denying them a chance to stay in the U.S. until their asylum cases could be heard.
In a letter to the Pentagon, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser asked the secretary of defense to deploy the DC National Guard.
“We need help from our federal partners as we seek to stabilize and manage our operating environment in this critical moment,” Bowser posted on social media. “I have been honored to work with the men and women of the DC National Guard many times and today we renewed our request for their assistance.”
The request, she writes, is to: “Help prevent a prolonged humanitarian crisis in our nation’s capital resulting from the daily arrival of migrants in need of assistance.”
Bowser has been asking for federal assistance since July.
She described the situation as a “growing humanitarian crisis that we expect, that the federal government expects, is only going to worsen. I have got to deploy the resources I need,” Bowser said.
Her renewed calls come the same week as New York City Mayor Eric Adams also asked for similar government backup after one week of receiving migrant buses from Texas.
Abbott penned an op-ed for Fox News this week, doubling down on the busing policy, telling the mayors to call on Biden to stop dismissing the crisis and preserve national security.
“Listen New York is a sanctuary city! ” Abbott wrote. “Mayor Adams said they welcome in illegal immigrants. And now once they have to deal with the reality of it, they’re suddenly flummoxed and they cannot handle it.”
Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch is an immigration attorney in Austin. While she notes that busing the migrants out of state is legal, Abbott’s actions are troubling and disruptive to the system as a whole — and he’s using taxpayer dollars to do it.
“It is not in the jurisdiction for the governor of any state to enforce border policies,” Lincoln-Goldfinch said. “These are migrants who are free to be in the United States. They have been released and they decide where they like to go. Border Patrol does not hand over detained migrants to the governor of Texas.”
On the other hand, “These are migrants who say, ‘Sure, I’ll get on a bus and go to DC, I was headed there anyways!’”
The migrants being bused are asylum seekers who are now permitted to stay in the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until their petitions to stay in the country go through the system.
Bowser asked for a 90-day deployment from the National Guard, also seeking soldiers to help set up migrant refuge centers.
To date, Abbott has sent about 7,000 migrants to D.C. and New York combined.