WaPo editorial board hits Muriel Bowser for ‘inaction’ on migrants bussed to DC, but gives Biden admin a pass

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The Washington Post editorial board knocked Democratic Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for apparently not doing enough to handle the influx of illegal immigrants being bussed into town while appearing to give the Biden administration a pass. 

Migrants by the busloads have been sent to the capital by GOP governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona as a political statement over President Biden’s handling of the immigration crisis at the southern border. 

Bowser has vocally complained about the migrant surge in her city, suggesting those entering the country are being “tricked” into coming to D.C. but stressed it is “a federal issue that demands a federal response.”

In a piece published Tuesday, the Post editorial board claimed Bowser “has largely sat on her hands.”

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Mayor Muriel Bower delivers remarks at the Legacy Leadership Luncheon & Awards during National Urban League Conference 2022 - Day 3 at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on July 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Mayor Muriel Bower delivers remarks at the Legacy Leadership Luncheon & Awards during National Urban League Conference 2022 – Day 3 at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on July 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(Brian Stukes/Getty Images)

“That inaction further victimizes vulnerable people and fuels the success of Mr. Abbott and Mr. Ducey’s political stunt,” the editorial board wrote. “It’s time for Ms. Bowser to provide more concrete leadership.”

“Ms. Bowser is not wrong in arguing that federal help is needed, and the District gets credit for facilitating a conversation between the Federal Emergency Management Agency and SAMU First Response, an international humanitarian nonprofit, that resulted in a grant to support about half of the arriving migrants. But even with federal assistance, the D.C. government needs to play a role. Volunteers estimate that 10 to 15 percent of migrants arriving in D.C. stay in the area; the rest leave within a few days to their intended destination,” the board continued. 

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The Post praised the city of Brownsville, Texas for its municipal government that established a migrant processing center and partnered with local nonprofits to meet various needs, urging Bowser’s administration to “replicate that approach.”

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (C) speaks during a press conference on February 28, 2022 in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 28: Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (C) speaks during a press conference on February 28, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“It could direct D.C. staff to assist the organizations already supporting migrants. It could apply for FEMA funding, while considering calls by council members to draw from the city’s $500 million budget surplus for fiscal 2022. It could find a place close to Union Station as a respite center for arriving migrants, along with providing coronavirus testing, masks and isolation spaces. Since April, Ms. Bowser has been relying on unpaid labor and donations from local residents to help arriving migrants. They can’t — and shouldn’t — continue to do government’s job,” the Post wrote. 

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The editorial board concluded, “Mr. Abbott and Mr. Ducey hope to cause trouble, to make it seem as though migrants inevitably lead to chaos and thus compel the federal government to pass more draconian border policies. The District government’s inaction, and local aid groups being overwhelmed as a result, threatens to create a narrative of crisis that plays into the hand of the Republican governors. But it doesn’t have to be like this: By implementing humane and effective programs, D.C. could model immigration solutions. The city should waste no time in acting.”

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks about the city's preparations for the white nationalist-led rally marking the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" protests in Washington D.C., U.S., August 9, 2018. 

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks about the city’s preparations for the white nationalist-led rally marking the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests in Washington D.C., U.S., August 9, 2018. 
(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

In May, the Washington Post editorial board similarly scolded Congress for failing to pass immigration reform, laying little to no responsibility at the feet of the Biden administration as it mulled lifting Title 42 enacted by the Trump administration that barred migrants from coming into the country during the pandemic. 

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The board was even defensive of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying GOP lawmakers will use border crossings to “skewer” the top Biden official and amplifying calls for his impeachment, declaring the political threats “preposterous on the merits.”

“Notwithstanding the Biden administration’s floundering performance and mixed messaging on the border, the real immigration policy failure has been Congress’s,” the Post declared. “Its proven inability over decades to enact meaningful reform has left the nation, and Mr. Mayorkas, to grapple with dysfunction.”

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