Commentary, News, Trump Administration

Just before Florence, Trump administration transfers $10M from FEMA to ICE

You really can’t make this stuff up. It was just a couple of months ago that the Trump administration’s Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) admitted in a report on the tragically botched Puerto Rico hurricane response that it was “ill-prepared to handle the crisis” and that it “urges communities in harm’s way not to count so heavily on FEMA in a future crisis.”

Now, these people are retreating even further from their duties and responsibilities.

As Roll Call reports:

“On the eve of Hurricane Florence hitting the U.S. coast, Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage that the Homeland Security Department transferred nearly $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a reprogramming move this summer.

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office on Wednesday released documents confirming that $9.8 million from FEMA’s operations and support budget was diverted to fund ICE’s detention facilities and deportation operations.

The Oregon Democrat first discussed the DHS report on MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ on Tuesday evening. DHS was allocating money from FEMA to ICE to fund ‘additional detention camps,’ he said.

The DHS documents released by Merkley give this justification for the money reprogramming: ‘Without the transfers and reprogramming identified in this notification, ICE will not be able to fulfill its adult detention requirements in FY 2018. Insufficient funding could require ICE to release any new book-ins and illegal border violators. ICE will not be able to deport those who have violated immigration laws. ICE could also be forced to reduce its current interior enforcement operations, curtailing criminal alien and fugitive arrests — which would pose a significant risk to public safety and national security by permitting known offenders to remain at large.’”

Trump officials deny that the transfer will impact the hurricane relief budget, but given FEMA’s already depleted state and admissions of past failure, the transfer — at a minimum — sends a terrible message about priorities.

As Mississippi congressman Bennie Thompson pointed out:“This is yet another example of the Trump administration’s outrageously misplaced homeland security priorities. We have a president who cares more about locking up families seeking asylum and putting kids in cages than ensuring FEMA has every resource necessary to prepare for and respond to disasters.”

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