Trump Administration Used $10 Million Of FEMA Money To Fund ICE Migrant Detentions
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) released a document Tuesday showing the transfer of nearly $10 million from FEMA’s budget had been transferred to ICE, accusing President Donald Trump‘s administration of diverting funds from hurricane relief just as hurricane season was starting.
According to the document from the Department of Homeland Security, however, the money came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s budgets for travel, training, public engagement and information technology work. It will not affect the agency’s hurricane response and other disaster relief efforts.
“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.
FEMA spokesperson Jenny Burke slammed Merkley in a tweet on Wednesday, who appeared on cable news outlets to talk about the document, saying he ignores the facts.
— Jenny Burke (@FEMAspox) September 12, 2018
Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Houlton also stated that DHS did not shift disaster relief funding away from FEMA, accusing Merkley of “a sorry attempt to push a false statement.”
Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from @fema to immigration enforcement efforts. This is a sorry attempt to push a false agenda at a time when the administration is focused on assisting millions on the East Coast facing a catastrophic disaster.
— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) September 12, 2018
The document also shows the amount transferred from FEMA to ICE is is less than 1% of FEMA’s overall budget. FEMA’s budget originally was $1.03 billion, and the amount transferred was about $9.755 million. The document confirms that the money would be spent on ICE’s detention facilities.
“Without the transfers and reprogramming identified in this notification, ICE will not be able to fulfill its adult detention requirements in (fiscal year) 2018,” the document says.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) told CNN following a meeting between DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that each DHS department would be contributing toward ICE’s detention activities.
“As an overall, the meeting was long on excuses and on misrepresentations and short on information and solutions … one thing we do know, they are taking 1% of every DHS department and putting that towards family detention and family separation,” Gallego said.