Some of the thousands of migrants seeking asylum who have recently arrived in Washington, DC, by chartered buses from Texas and Arizona are staying in a hotel in Montgomery County while county officials and organizations help them find housing and employment.
Identity Inc. — in Gaithersburg nonprofit that provides academic support and social services to Latino youths and their families in Montgomery County — has been helping with those efforts, according to executive director and founder Diego Uriburu.
Uriburu said Tuesday that he, colleagues and county officials are assessing the individuals and families to determine their needs for housing, medical care and employment. SAMU First Response, a nonprofit based in Washington, DC, that helps with humanitarian efforts, is also assisting in the response, he said.
“There’s very short immediate needs,” Uriburu said, referring to food, clothing and medical attention, “and some that are mid-term needs” such as finding the migrants stable housing and secure employment.
When they arrive in Washington, DC, the migrants are first sent to a shelter in the District for three days and then they are transported to the hotel in the county, Uriburu said. He and county officials are not disclosing the location of the hotel in order to ensure the privacy and safety of the migrants.
According to published reports, the governors of Texas and Arizona have sent busloads of migrants — who are arriving in those states from south of the US-Mexico border — to Washington. The political move is in response to the Biden administration’s efforts regarding asylum seekers and border enforcement, according to The Washington Post. The effort to help the migrants is overwhelming local aid groups and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has requested that 150 National Guard troops be deployed to the city to help with the sudden increase of people seeking asylum.
As a neighboring jurisdiction, Montgomery County is also stepping in to help, according to local officials.
“As part of the regional effort in managing the influx of migrants being sent to the District of Columbia by the Governors of Texas and Arizona, Montgomery County has been assisting non-profits caring for these individuals,” Mary Anderson, spokesperson for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, said Tuesday in a prepared statement. “In accordance with DHHS regulations, the Montgomery County government does not disclose details or identities of those receiving any social service assistance.”
Anderson declined to say how many people were in the hotel.
Uriburu said that housing some of the migrants in a hotel in the county is meant to give those asylum-seekers some “transition time” while they search for a more permanent home.
I have estimated that the hotel is housing around 50 people at any given time. New people are leaving and arriving constantly, so the number fluctuates, he said.
Last year, county officials helped provide Afghan refugees with medical treatment and other social services after those individuals had to leave their country when the US military withdrew from Afghanistan. They stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org