US says transfer from FEMA funds won't harm hurricane relief

Adjust Comment Print

Budget documents show the transfer of $9,755,303 from FEMA to ICE.

But that's a drop in the bucket.

Top officials at FEMA are insisting the transfer of almost $10 million of its budget to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) services will not affect the agency's disaster relief efforts.

The money comes from the agency's budgets for travel, training, public engagement and information technology work - not disaster relief funding, according to the official document and the Department of Homeland Security.

However, the document confirms that the money would be spent on ICE's detention capacity and deportation efforts.

The Trump administration has taken about $10 million away from the Federal Emergency Management Administration and given it to immigration authorities, documents of the plan show.

In addition to this summer's widely condemned move to separate families at the border, the administration has drawn criticism for arresting a far greater rate of noncriminal undocumented immigrants and seeking to detain them much longer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, it was revealed on Tuesday evening.

While it's not uncommon for agencies to move money around, FEMA's budget was decimated past year due to the barrage of storms and fires that affected the nation and the agency was criticized heavily for its handling of the disaster in Puerto Rico.

He added, "The money in question - transferred to ICE from FEMA's routine operating expenses - could not have been used for hurricane response due to appropriation limitations".

Speaking in the Oval Office on Tuesday, FEMA chief Brock Long warned that Florence "has an opportunity of being a devastating storm".

The $10 million from FEMA did not come from the agency's disaster relief budget, the agencies noted. FEMA and nine other agencies under the Department of Homeland Security had approximately 1% taken from their budgets to be put toward ICE's detention facilities.

The money will reportedly be used to house immigrants detained by ICE at the Mexican border.

DHS is required to notify the House and Senate Appropriations Committees of reprogramming of funds in excess of $5 million, according to a 2009 appropriations measure.

Gonzalez along with other Democrats said the GOP postpone the meeting and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) "feel short" to investigating and evaluating relief efforts. ICE only has roughly 40,000 spots in detention, meaning it can not possibly detain every undocumented immigrant in the US.

But ICE has overrun that amount and requested more money regularly. A combined $83 million was repurposed in the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, plus an additional $127 million in fiscal year 2016, CNN reports. It was made public by Democratic Sen. Since Republicans control Congress, that didn't matter.

The agency urged Congress last month to include the extra funds in a stopgap spending measure that lawmakers must pass to avoid a government shutdown when the new fiscal year starts October 1.

Similar language is popping up in this year's appropriations bills.

"This is yet another example of the Trump administration's outrageously misplaced homeland security priorities".

Small says that her group is "on the Hill screaming about this" to encourage Congress to break the pattern.

No need to wonder what this administration really cares about.