US says transfer from FEMA funds won't harm hurricane relief

Department of Homeland Security

On Tuesday, the administration announced it would tripling the size of an emergency temporary tent facility to house more immigrant children.

The Trump administration took almost $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's budget this summer to help boost U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to budget documents shared with USA TODAY.

But FEMA, while not disputing the transfer, says the money came from the agency's "routine operating expenses" and not from disaster relief funds. He said the document makes it clear ICE is using money from FEMA "to build more detention centers".

"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, Press Secretary for DHS said.

The transfer and reprogramming request shows that money has been pulled from the Coast Guard, from TSA aviation security, from other parts of ICE, actually, as well as from FEMA. "It says that money came from Response and Recovery right on it", Merkley told Maddow.

As CNN reports, this summer, Trump diverted a staggering $200 million from agencies across the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into the ICE budget.

The senator claims the money will support immigration detention programs.

The $10 million from FEMA did not come from the agency's disaster relief budget, the agencies noted. "On the beginning of hurricane season-when American electorate in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are restful plagued by FEMA's inadequate recovery efforts-the administration transferred millions of bucks remote from FEMA", Merkley talked about in a paper commentary launched Tuesday evening - aspects he reiterated in an interview Wednesday morning.

A year ago the USA dealt with multiple hurricanes making landfall and causing destruction in their wake.

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Trump also took a few moments to praise his administration's response to Hurricane Maria as "incredibly successful", despite the fact that a government-commissioned study published last month found that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico because of the devastating storm. Additionally, Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in August and Hurricane Irma struck Florida in September, leaving FEMA stretched thin.

Merkley's communications director Ray Zaccaro slammed the President for "stripping money from FEMA to pay for locking up families at the border" in a statement issued Wednesday.

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.

Mary Small: I think that that is really missing the point and frankly, just parsing words.

Bustle also reached out to Merkley's office for comment.

He based his claim on a 39-page Department of Homeland Security transfer and reprogramming report dated August 31.

Without the transfer of funds, the document notes, 'ICE will not be able to fulfill its adult detention requirements in FY 2018'.

Merkley's staff tells ABC News it was a "complete mischaracterization" and that the separate Merkley staffer who spoke with FEMA was "acknowledging that Merkley was on TV discussing this topic and that he took very seriously the dramatic funding switch from FEMA to ICE detention centers, and that that money could have been used in much more productive ways". The document mentions Fiscal Year 2018 but doesn't include an exact date. "It has been no secret that President Trump's obsession with his wall, mass deportation and indiscriminate detention of children comes at a hefty price.and now our Eastern Coast is left even more vulnerable in the path of Hurricane Florence". "We have plenty of resources to respond, plenty of resources to recover".

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