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Hurricane Florence: Trump Moved $10M From FEMA to ICE

Hurricane Florence: Trump Moved $10M From FEMA to ICE

Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), President Donald Trump reportedly slashed almost $10 million out of FEMA's budget in order to fund Immigration and Customs Enforcement immigration (ICE) detention centers. "We have a president who cares more about locking up families seeking asylum and putting kids in cages than ensuring FEMA has every resource necessary to prepare for and respond to disasters", Mississippi Rep.

Congress has two years in a row told them to stop it, told them to cut it out and the Government Accountability Office also recently issued a report calling into question the kind of fiscal management that they're using to do this.

Houlton added that money transferred from FEMA could not have been used to pay for hurricane relief efforts because of "appropriation limitations". "Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA, and not part of my track record and my whole entire career". An estimated almost 3,000 Puerto Ricans died in the wake of Hurricane Maria past year and many - including the San Juan mayor - have been critical of what they call a lackluster and underwhelming response to the devastation.

DHS also transferred, per NBC News, $33 million from other programs within ICE to the agency's detention and removal operations.

Meanwhile, immigration advocates are concerned not just about where the money came from, but where it went.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., told MSBNC Tuesday a "Transfer and Reallocation" budget document he obtained outlines the reallocation of funds. He accused the administration of diverting funds from hurricane relief just as hurricane season was starting.

The Trump administration is under fire for appearing to transfer money from the country's top disaster response agency FEMA to fund immigrant detention.

Because of the loss of the $9.75 million, FEMA "will curtail training, travel, public engagement sessions, IT security support and infrastructure maintenance", DHS writes.

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Newly revealed documents show the Trump administration took almost $10 million away from FEMA and other federal agencies apparently to pay for immigration detention centers.

The almost $10 million diverted to ICE comes from a roughly $1 billion operating budget that supports much of FEMA's efforts beyond the immediate response to a declared emergency, said a former FEMA official who asked not to be identified because he still does business with the agency. He also used the occasion to trumpet as an "incredible, unsung success" his administration's response to Hurricane Maria, which caused almost 3,000 deaths on Puerto Rico, a USA territory already badly damaged by Hurricane Irma weeks earlier.

Instead, the cash was funneled to ICE's coffers to be used for its "Transportation and Removal Program" and "Detention Beds", The Washington Post reported.

"The budget documents show that there is a lot of tough questions that need to be asked about what the true priorities are of this administration", said Peter Tyler, a senior policy analyst for the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight. And I think the bigger picture here that it's really important to keep our eye on is the kind of single-minded focus that that DHS has had on moving money from other accounts into immigration detention, in pursuit of this really ramped-up enforcement, frankly, detention- and deportation-machine that they are operating.

The "response and recovery" category contains about 21 percent of FEMA's operations budget- about $223 million - does non-public a more instruct characteristic in paying for catastrophe efforts.

Katie Waldman, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, said the proposed $1 billion increase mirrors the agency's $8.2 billion budget request for fiscal 2019.

Doesn't Congress get a say how money is spent?


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