Homeland Security moves $155 million from FEMA disaster relief for immigration enforcement

Posted on 09/06/19

To support new policies on deporting illegal migrants back to their countries, the Trump administration plans on shifting over 155 million dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agencies disaster relief fund. The Department of Homeland Security has informed Congress of its efforts to reappropriate 271 million dollars in total to ICE. The move comes as a shock as a possible hurricane is approaching Puerto Rico and Florida. In our blog post last week, the Administration announced its intention to hold migrant families indefinitely, aimed at scrapping a settlement that put a 20-day limit on family detention.

The Department of Homeland Security informed Congress at the end of July, for the use of ICE “The
department plans to transfer around $116 million for ICE detention beds, as well as transportation
and deportation,” the official said. “In this case, this is a must-pay bill that needed to be addressed,” said the official. “We would not say that this is with no risk,” said the official, who added that it was done in ways to “minimize the risk” to agencies that are losing funding.

FEMA officials stated that the funds leaving the agency would not impact their ongoing efforts in
supporting communities for the upcoming hurricane season and the major 2017 disasters. The
reprogramming of funds from FEMA is receiving pushback from various Democratic lawmakers who
criticized the Department of Homeland Securities decision. In a letter to acting Homeland Security
Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Democratic Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, chair of the House
Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, opposed the reprogramming of funds, saying she
had “significant concerns about the intended use of funds” and the shifting of funds from other

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement that the Administration
is “flouting the law and Congressional intent to fund its extremist indefinite detention immigration
policies. Taking money away from TSA and from FEMA in the middle of hurricane season could have
deadly consequences. Congress should work to undo the damage this Administration is continually
doing to our homeland security infrastructure,” the Mississippi Democrat added.

Democrats argued that the increase in funding for detention facility beds would lead to an uncontrollable “immigration population” that lives in ICE facilities. But Republicans viewed as essential to limit the number of undocumented immigrants being released into the country while they wait for their appearance in court.

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Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/27/politics/fema-immigration