The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) diverted tens of millions of dollars, including $9.7 million from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to support ICE’s growing detention facilities.
Documents obtained by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Defense: Officials rush to deny writing anonymous op-ed | Lawmakers offer measure on naming NATO headquarters after McCain | US, India sign deal on sharing intel Lawmakers introduce resolution to back naming NATO headquarters after McCain Senate Dems want DOJ review of Giuliani’s work for foreign entities MORE ‘s (D-Ore.) office first reported by MSNBC detailing the agency’s funding redirections for fiscal year 2018 show that millions of dollars were diverted to ICE from several agencies.
Those diverted funds, totaling $33.1 million, “will provide funding in support of higher priority detention and removal requirements than those for which originally appropriated,” according to the documents.
Merkeley told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that “it means that just as hurricane season is starting…the administration is working hard to find funds for child detention camps.”
“So $10 million dollars comes out of FEMA when we’re facing hurricane season, knowing what happened last year, and look what’s happened since?” Merkley said, referring to a recent hurricane in the Pacific that largely missed Hawaii, and another, Florence, currently threatening North Carolina and the east coast.
“I find it extraordinary,” he added. “It says that money came from response and recovery, right on it.”
A request for comment to DHS from The Hill was not immediately answered, but MSNBC reported that DHS did not dispute the accuracy of the documents when contacted.
The Trump administration faced widespread criticism earlier this year for forced separations and detentions of families caused by the administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy.
News of diverted funds from FEMA also follows a revision of Puerto Rico’s official death total from two hurricanes last year from just a few dozen to more than 1,400.