Saturday, 17 November, 2018

ICE took $169 million from FEMA, TSA, others to fund migrant detention

Donald Trump Modal Trigger Getty Images
Kenny Thornton | 16 September, 2018, 00:00

Well, that didn't stop him from pulling almost $10 million from this year's FEMA budget, right at the beginning of hurricane season, to help fund ICE.

A senior official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the agency is well positioned to respond to Hurricane Florence, despite a report that almost $10 million was transferred this summer to help boost U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

But Merkley did concede that the transfer of funds was legal.

At a Wednesday morning briefing, FEMA Administrator Jeff Byard said the agency has "plenty of resources both monetary, staff and commodities" to respond to approaching Hurricane Florence, which is set to reach the Carolinas on Thursday evening. And for what? To implement their profoundly misguided "zero-tolerance" policy. Watch above, via MSNBC.

The department has the authority to move funds around internally with the approval of Congress and transfers are not unusual. Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley first made the budget adjustment documents public, and has called the transfer a "scandal".

On Wednesday, FEMA director Brock Long told Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News, that none of the $10 million transferred from FEMA to ICE came from the Disaster Relief Fund, saying that Merkley was "playing politics" ahead of Hurricane Florence.

The document, which was released by the office of Senator Jeff Merkley, of OR, shows that the money would come from FEMA's operations and support budget and was transferred into accounts at ICE to pay for detention and removal operations.

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

However, the document from the Department of Homeland Security specifically mentions the money would come from the agency's budgets for travel, training, public engagement and information technology work.

Apple halts the production of iPhone X, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE
This deal includes the new iPhones Xs and iPhone Xs Max announced today as well as iPhone 8 , iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X . And any iPhone in good working condition will get at least $100 in trade-in value towards new iPhones at T-Mobile.

The money is listed as from "FEMA" with the appropriation level "Operations & Support".

"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", he added.

At a news conference at FEMA's Washington headquarters about the impending hurricane, officials said the agency was properly funded and prepared, and it was most important to focus on the upcoming storm, which could do catastrophic damage. "DHS/FEMA stand fiscally and operationally ready to support current and future response and recovery needs".

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Homeland Security subcommittee, sent a statement to NPR denouncing the "hefty price" of Trump's immigration policies.

The agency said it is prepared for Hurricane Florence, which is expected to hit North and SC, and Virginia on Thursday or Friday.

DHS and ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the overruns.

"We always plan one category higher than what's anticipated, and the main primary driver of the evacuations is coastal storm surge, flood inundation, wind-driven water coming up on shore", said Long.

New data show that almost 3,000 people died as a result of the hurricane and many people continue to live without power on the island. 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 US territory already badly damaged by Hurricane Irma weeks earlier.

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