WASHINGTON - Leaders in D.C. are grappling with how to handle what they are calling the migrant crisis situation.
Now, local volunteers are calling on D.C. officials to step up additional resources for to help these asylum seekers.
Right now, the migrants bused in from Texas and Arizona are staying at the Hampton Inn and Days Inn hotels located near Union Market here in Northeast, D.C.
According to experts, 85 to 90 percent of those asylum seekers will move somewhere else in the United States, but for the 10 to 15 percent that stay here, DMV area groups are hoping that local leaders will step up to help these migrants.
"As for the city, we think they need to step up and provide more for the migrants who have arrived. So far, the city is trying to sweep this under the rug and Mayor Bowser’s rhetoric recently tries to make it sound like the migrants are all leaving D.C. and that people aren’t staying here permanently," says Ashley Tjhung, an organizer for Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a coalition of 20 DMV area groups helping migrants with daily necessities like rent assistance, transportation, and translation services.
"The migrants who are staying, are staying here permanently. They want to be able to contribute to DC and the DMV area in all the ways local residents do as well. We would like to see the Mayor stop ignoring the situation and put the adequate resources necessary to fully address it," explains Tjhung.
Organizers with the migrant care groups say the asylum seekers are not receiving the care or resources typically offered to unhoused residents in the city, like case managers and proof of residency which would allow the migrants to apply for things like health insurance.
Mayor Bowser was asked about the situation during a press conference, but she did offer up any specifics on handling the crisis.
"We continue to work on policies, we struggle with a broken immigration system in our country," said Mayor Bowser. "Right now, we are dealing with a politically motivated policy emergency and we think it could be a crisis in our city and that’s why we’ve asked for federal support, and we will continue to do that. We think that cities alone can’t solve a broken immigration system."
So far, 5,500 asylum seekers have arrived to the nation’s capital since April. The migrants from Texas and Arizona were bused to D.C. as a result of the Governor’s of those states protesting the Biden Administration’s immigration policies.