Donald Trump moved FEMA funds to ICE at start of hurricane season

FEMA Says It’s Ready for Hurricane Florence, Defends 2017 Response

The Post reported that ICE officials said in their funding request that they expect to deport more than 253,000 immigrants in the next fiscal year, which would be the highest target for the agency since 2014. They do support his assertion that it has "Response and Recovery right on it".

"This has not impacted our situation whatsoever", Byard told reporters.

He has continued to be a critical voice on the Trump administration's immigration policy, which included separating families at the border when the administration made a decision to criminally detain individuals caught crossing the border illegally. His office has shared the file with NPR.

"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", Houlton said.

To cover the shortfall, DHS "reprogrammed" its financial resources, which is permitted under budget rules.

As the predictions of Hurricane Florence's impact on the east coast become more dire by the hour, FEMA's budget is apparently $10 million lighter.

The Oregon Democrat first discussed the DHS report on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Tuesday evening.

The Department of Homeland Security pushed back against Merkley's claims on Wednesday, saying that the funds were unspent money from operational accounts for training, office supplies and headquarters costs, which can not be spent on disaster response, according to The Associated Press.

"ICE must have sufficient detention bed capacity to detain illegal aliens when necessary as it enforces the Nation's immigration laws as fairly and effectively as possible", the budget document states. "ICE could also be forced to reduce its current interior enforcement operations".

"Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from @fema to immigration enforcement efforts". Patrick Leahy (D-VM) told the Associated Press that Republican subcommittee chairs signed off on the transfers, without any Democratic support.

Merkley said Wednesday that the Trump administration is not taking its job serious seriously regarding disaster response and preparedness. Partly, it's certainly going to an expansion of the immigration detention system that ICE oversees. Instead, it was money from an administrative account, and there is $25.6 billion in FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. "It's not surprising to see a defensive and completely fallacious response from the Trump administration to their irresponsible and unsafe decision to move money from FEMA", said Martina McLennan, a spokeswoman.

An estimated almost 3,000 Puerto Ricans died in the wake of Hurricane Maria previous year and many - including the San Juan mayor - have been critical of what they call a lackluster and underwhelming response to the devastation.

It seems they can always come up with the money after the disaster.

"There's perhaps never been a clearer articulation of this administration's priorities than this transfer document: cruelty over compassion". And so this is the moment for Congress to intervene to actually restrict that authority that ICE has.

This June, a group of immigrant and human rights groups raised the alarm about ICE's requests for fund transfers, accusing DHS of "asking for forgiveness rather than permission after dramatically overspending its appropriated budget in ways both morally reprehensible and fiscally irresponsible".

Similar language is popping up in this year's appropriations bills. Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia were the sole decisionmakers.

DHS says that since the money had not been spent, authorization to do so was going to expire at the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

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

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