Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

United States says transfer from FEMA funds won't harm hurricane relief

United States says transfer from FEMA funds won't harm hurricane relief

On the eve of Hurricane Florence hitting the US coast, Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage that the Homeland Security Department transferred almost $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a reprogramming move this summer.

FEMA said the diverted funds are less than 1 percent of the agency's total operational expenses and it has a separate account totaling $25 billion that it uses for disaster responses.

As Hurricane Florence comes barreling toward the Carolinas, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is busy readying their disaster response and putting pieces in place to ensure that the recovery goes as well as humanly possible. FEMA's annual budget is about $15 billion.

The document also shows that the Department of Homeland Security transferred money from accounts at Customs and Border Protection that pays for border fencing and technology.

The $10 million from FEMA did not come from the agency's disaster relief budget, the agencies noted.

He told USA TODAY that after the devastation of last year's storms, including hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma, FEMA should have the funds it needs to be prepared for another disastrous hurricane season.

The document does confirm that the money would be spent on ICE's detention facilities.

The transfer was approved by the Republican chairs of the House and Senate Homeland Security appropriations subcommittees, but not by the rest of the subcommittees' members.

"This is a scandal", Merkley said in a statement provided to HuffPost.

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

The Department of Homeland Security has forcefully resisted any suggestion that disaster readiness has been affected by the fund transfer.

It's not the first time DHS has redirected money from other agencies to ICE.

DHS argues in the document that the impact on FEMA will be "minimal".

Merkley has been a leading critic of the Trump administration's immigration policies, including the "zero tolerance" policy at the border that resulted in almost 3,000 children separated from their families.

The head of FEMA said he would never intentionally break government rules following a report that his use of official vehicles was under scrutiny, but that right now, he was focused on a major hurricane approaching the U.S. Southeast coast.

Trump praised immigration and border agents at the White House last month amid calls from some Democrats to abolish ICE. The Category 4 storm is expected to make landfall in North Carolina Thursday and may be the costliest hurricane in US history.

They also said they need the money to deal with rising costs related to arrests and deportations.

Congressional Democrats said that a meeting with FEMA that took a year to schedule. was canceled because of Hurricane Florence, reported Mother Jones.

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