Texas Tribune / Shuran Huang
Two buses transporting migrants from Texas as part of Gov. Abbott's Operation Lone Star arrive at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on April 21
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public health emergency Thursday over Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's continued busing of migrants to the nation's capital.
As part of the declaration, Bowser's city is establishing the Office of Migrant Services, which will provide assistance to border crossers arriving from the Lone Star State and Arizona, CNN reports
"We're putting in place a framework that would allow us to have a coordinated response with our partners," Bowser said during a press conference
. "This will include a program to meet all buses, and given that most people will move on, our primary focus is to make sure we have a humane, efficient, welcome process that will allow people to move on to their final destination."
Bowser's declaration comes after her request for assistance from the National Guard was twice denied
by the Department of Defense.
So far, Abbott, a Republican, has sent more than 7,900 migrants on nearly 200 buses to the nation's capital as part of the border crackdown he's made a cornerstone of his 2022 reelection campaign.
An additional 2,200 migrants have been sent to New York City, and most recently, 300 have gone to Chicago, according to CNN. Washington, New York and Chicago all have Democrats as mayors.
Abbott's busing program is part of the governor's controversial Operation Lone Star, a pricy anti-immigration crackdown that's under federal investigation
for alleged civil rights violations.
Although Abbott touts fiscal responsibility as a foundation of his reelection platform, a state government spreadsheet obtained by CNN shows that Texas has spent more than $12.7 million on his busing program. The state incurs an estimated cost of $1,700 per migrant placed on the buses, a Houston Chronicle investigation
Last week, during a press conference
, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Abbott a "man without any morals, humanity or shame."
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