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The Pentagon rejects the DC mayor’s request for the National Guard to help with migrants arriving in the nation’s capital

Written by Javed Iqbal

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin rejected the request because the Defense Department has “determined that providing this support would negatively impact the readiness of the DCNG and have negative effects on the organization and members,” the official said.

The official said grant funding through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program is sufficient. “We understand that SAMU First Response has received grant funding through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program and has indicated that sufficient EFSP funds are available at this time to provide migrant assistance.”

Bowser told reporters Friday, “I’ve had a chance to scan that letter and what I see is that we can send an amended request.”

“The Department of Defense highlighted a number — the concern about the open-ended nature of our request and their ability to respond to it. So I’d like to give them some more specific parameters to better respond to our request.” she continued.

CNN previously reported that according to the office of the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, more than 5,100 migrants have arrived in Washington from Texas on more than 135 buses.

The city has facilitated help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a $1 million grant, the mayor said at a news conference last week.

However, city officials and non-governmental organizations have grown increasingly concerned about the number of arrivals in recent weeks. The mayor’s office requested to convert the DC Armory, Joint Base Bolling, Fort McNair or other “appropriate federal location in the National Capital Region” into a processing center for the migrants. The Regional Welcome Center established to assist the migrants in Montgomery County, Maryland is at capacity, according to the request.

“I have asked for the deployment of the guard as long as we need the guard to deal with the crisis that we expect to escalate,” Bowser said last week. “The number of people crossing the border and seeking asylum, we expect will only increase. And we need to make sure there is a national response, not an ad-hoc response, city by city, state by state.”

Bowser also highlighted the differences in the situation in DC compared to other states.

“We need to ask the president for the use of our National Guard, who we know can be very helpful in these logistical matters,” she said at the time.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Sonnet Swire and Colin McCullough contributed to this report.

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Javed Iqbal

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