Quantcast

As Hurricane Florence Approaches, Document Shows Trump Admin Funneled Nearly $10 Million From FEMA to ICE

An army helicopter delivers FEMA supplies to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year. Mario Tama / Getty Images

As Hurricane Florence threatens the East Coast, a newly released document shows that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) transferred almost $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show reported Tuesday night.


The document was released by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who said he believed the transfer of $9,755,303 occurred this summer.

"$10 million dollars comes out of FEMA when we're facing hurricane season, knowing what happened last year, and then look what we've had since?" Merkley told Maddow, referring to Hurricane Lane's near miss with Hawaii, a tropical storm that hit Mississippi, and the oncoming Hurricane Florence.

The money was earmarked for more detention beds and for ICE's "transportation and removal program," Maddow said.

DHS confirmed that the transfers were made, but said they did not come from any of FEMA's "disaster response and recovery efforts," Maddow reported.

Homeland Security Press Secretary Tyler Houlton tweeted on Wednesday that the FEMA money did not come from disaster relief, CNN reported.

"The money in question—transferred to ICE from FEMA's routine operating expenses—could not have been used for hurricane response due to appropriation limitations. DHS/FEMA stand fiscally and operationally ready to support current and future response and recovery needs," Houlton said.

However, Maddow and Merkley noted that the document does appear to show money coming out of "response and recovery."

Merkley told Maddow he came across the documents as part of his work opposing the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border as part of a drive to criminally detain everyone caught crossing the border illegally.

The FEMA money is part of a broader transfer of $201.88 million to ICE from other DHS agencies.

"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," the document said.

Some scholars have linked the increased presence of entire Central American families at the southern border to pressures related to climate change, which President Donald Trump famously denies is a problem.

Climate change is also making hurricanes like Florence both larger and slower moving, which allows them to do more damage, especially in terms of flooding, NPR reported.

The document release also comes weeks after the official Hurricane Maria death toll was raised from 64 to nearly 3,000.

Trump continues to insist his administration responded well to the storm that devastated Puerto Rico.

"I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful. Puerto Rico was actually our toughest one of all because it's an island. You can't truck things onto it. Everything is by boat," Trump told reporters Tuesday as he discussed preparations for Hurricane Florence, CNN reported.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Strawberries top the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of U.S. produce most contaminated with pesticides. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP / Getty Images

Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.

Read More Show Less
A drilling rig in a Wyoming natural gas field. William Campbell / Corbis via Getty Images

A U.S. federal judge temporarily blocked oil and gas drilling on 300,000 acres of federal leases in Wyoming Tuesday, arguing that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "did not sufficiently consider climate change" when auctioning off the land, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mizina / iStock / Getty Images

By Ryan Raman, MS, RD

Oats are widely regarded as one of the healthiest grains you can eat, as they're packed with many important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Read More Show Less
JPMorgan Chase building in New York City. Ben Sutherland / CC BY 2.0

By Sharon Kelly

A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.

Read More Show Less
Sriram Madhusoodanan of Corporate Accountability speaking on conflict of interest demand of the People's Demands at a defining action launching the Demands at COP24. Corporate Accountability

By Patti Lynn

2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The head of England's Environment Agency has urged people to stop watering their lawns as a climate-induced water shortage looms. Pexels

England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Jessica Corbett

A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.

Read More Show Less
A flock of parrots in Telegraph Hill, San Francisco. ~dgies / Flickr

By Madison Dapcevich

Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.

Read More Show Less