Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Democrats Fume Over Transfer of FEMA Money to ICE Before Hurricanes

Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean as it threatens the US East Coast AP Hurricane Florence in the Atlantic Ocean as it threatens the US East Coast
Ellis Copeland | 16 September, 2018, 00:00

Patrick Leahy of Vermont, DHS notified Congress on June 30 that it wanted to transfer $200 million from other agencies to ICE, including the funds from FEMA.

Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) released documents late Tuesday showing that the Trump administration transferred almost $10 million away from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) just ahead of hurricane season in order to fund the White House's cruel family separation and deportation efforts.

The department denies that the money came from disaster relief funding.

"$10 million comes out of FEMA when we're facing a hurricane season knowing what's happened previous year", Merkley added.

The transfers also came just as the "zero tolerance" immigration policy came into force. "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", DHS Spokesman Tyler Houlton said on Twitter on Tuesday.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported Tuesday night on the FEMA transfer, and Wednesday night on the Coast Guard transfer.

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

However, money was taken from the response and recovery, preparedness and protection and mission support operations budgets, which are used to prepare for emergencies like Florence.

Merkley, a Democrat from OR, said on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" that the administration is taking money from "response and recovery" and "working hard to find funds for additional detention camps". DHS was allocating money from FEMA to ICE to fund "additional detention camps", he said.

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In a briefing Wednesday, a FEMA response and recovery official told reporters the agency has "plenty of resources" to respond to to the storm, now approaching the Carolinas and Georgia.

"(It's) this pattern of misbehavior by ICE where they overspend the amount they have been given by Congress, specifically for immigration detention, and then they make it up by basically robbing other accounts in DHS", Small said.

"It would not attain out of the catastrophe reduction fund that funds all the pieces unhurried me and within the field so or not it is some distance a non-voice for us at this moment", administrator Brock Lengthy talked about this morning on ABC's "Beneficial Morning The United States", gesturing to staff at computer systems at FEMA headquarters in Washington.

Florence was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday and was packing deadly winds of 130 miles per hour, but it is expected to strengthen and turn into "an extremely risky major hurricane" on Thursday night before making landfall.

But the document says "mission impact is minimized as FEMA will curtail training, travel, public engagement sessions, IT security support and infrastructure maintenance". Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for North Carolina's Outer Banks, as well as the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, reports ABC affiliate WTVD.

"This is yet another example of the Trump administration's outrageously misplaced homeland security priorities", said Rep. Bennie Thompson of MS, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Other Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees FEMA, also weighed in on the matter.

"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.

After months without power or clean water and an official death count of almost 3,000 dead. "I think what the American people would like to hear is what can we learn from Puerto Rico, from the Virgin Islands and from Texas, so we can do it better", he said.

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