Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Yes, $10 million were transferred from FEMA to ICE

Yes, $10 million were transferred from FEMA to ICE

"Now our Eastern Coast is left even more vulnerable in the path of Hurricane Florence", Leahy said.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, is feuding with the Trump administration over what he says used to be its execrable shift of $10 million from FEMA to immigration enforcement - funds he talked about must be mature for catastrophe reduction.

During a Tuesday night appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Merkley said that he questioned insistences by the Trump administration that the reallocation "has no bearing on. addressing the challenges from hurricanes", and said that move comes as the White House is "working hard to find funds for additional detention camps".

"What I think all of us want to hear from the administration is not what the president says is an A+ performance, which it clearly wasn't, but what went wrong", Merkley said, referring to a quote by President Trump Tuesday that the response to Hurricane Maria was an "unsung success".

The "monster", as Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina labeled the storm gathering strength off the southeastern Atlantic coast, threatens enormous damage and a replay of last year's devastating hurricane season, in which FEMA was woefully unprepared for the catastrophe that befell Puerto Rico, according to an after-action report by the agency.

But FEMA Administrator Brock Long also said the agency was facing an unprecedented workload that included the three catastrophic hurricanes, historic wildfires in California and dozens of other disasters.

"This has not impacted our situation whatsoever", Byard told reporters. DHS claims the almost $10 million makes up just 1 percent of their operational account and that they have another $25 billion in their coffers to use during a disaster.

"We have plenty of resources both monetary, staff and commodities to respond to the unsafe storm that is Hurricane Florence", administrator Jeff Byard said.

News of the budget transfer comes several weeks after FEMA acknowledged staffing shortages and logistical challenges in responding to Hurricane Maria a year ago in Puerto Rico, where aging infrastructure and island terrain complicated relief efforts.

Funds are regularly transferred among government departments.

Houlton said in a statement that Homeland Security is "fully focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and the storms in the Pacific". Insufficient funding, DHS observes, could prevent the agency from deporting people who stand in violation of the country's immigration laws while requiring ICE to "release any new book-ins and illegal border violators", to "reduce its current interior enforcement operations" and to limit "criminal alien and fugitive arrests".

"Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from @fema to immigration enforcement efforts", Houlton tweeted.

"FEMA will curtail training, travel, public engagement sessions, IT security support and infrastructure maintenance, and IT investments in the legacy grants systems for transition to the Grants Management Modernization Program", the document says.

The funds redirected from FEMA this summer only covered a small portion of ICE's overspending.

Moreover, the diverted funds that ICE has accumulated, totaled to over $33 million which "will provide funding in support of higher priority detention and removal requirements than those for which originally appropriated", according to the documents.

Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego told CNN following a meeting between DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on July 25 that each DHS department would be contributing toward ICE's detention activities. "We're ready. We're able".

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