WASHINGTON — Buses carrying asylum seekers and migrants from Texas have begun arriving at Vice President Kamala Harris' residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in D.C. early Thursday morning.
This comes exactly a week after Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency and created a new governmental task force in response to the busloads of migrants coming to the District from Texas and Arizona.
Crowds of people were seen outside the residence on Thursday. Aid workers at the scene said the buses came from Texas, and that most of the migrants were from Venezuela. Most of the migrants had left the Naval Observatory area by 9 a.m.
Last week, Bowser said that she was allocating $10 million to build the new Office of Migrant Support, which she added will be partially reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The time-limited emergency will also give Bowser more power and flexibility to direct the mobilization of people and resources to help migrants who choose to stay in D.C.
“We’re putting in place a framework that would allow us to have a coordinated response with our partners,” Bowser said. “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.”
The Office of Migrant Services will be a subdivision of the Department of Health and Human Services and will be responsible for the reception, respite, meals temporary accommodations and other basic needs of migrants arriving after crossing the southern border.
The mayor’s office estimates more than 9,400 people have voluntarily bused from Arizona and Texas to D.C.
The mayor emphasized that while D.C. would step up to the cause, the nationwide migrant crisis goes beyond her political powers, and she called on the federal government to fix a broken immigration system.
"What we need in this country is for Congress to do its job and fix this immigration system," she said. "We have millions of people in this country who don't have the means to take care of themselves," she said last week.
We are working to gather more details about Thursday's situation at the Naval Observatory.
This is a developing story. We are working to gather additional details. Stay with WUSA9 for the latest updates as they come in to our newsroom.