Merkley accuses DHS of 'scandal' in taking funds from FEMA: FACT CHECK

Merkley accuses DHS of 'scandal' in taking funds from FEMA: FACT CHECK

Merkley accuses DHS of 'scandal' in taking funds from FEMA: FACT CHECK

Merkley rejected DHS's claim in an appearance on "The Rachel Maddow Show" Tuesday night, noting that the budget document he obtained shows the "money came from response and recovery". Almost $10 million in FEMA money went to ICE for detaining immigrants, or so say documents released by Sen. DHS claims the almost $10 million makes up just 1 percent of their operational account and that they have another $25 billion in their coffers to use during a disaster.

A DHS spokesperson acknowledged the funds had been redirected but said the transfer didn't jeopardize FEMA's relief efforts.

"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". Insufficient funding, DHS observes, could prevent the agency from deporting people who stand in violation of the country's immigration laws while requiring ICE to "release any new book-ins and illegal border violators", to "reduce its current interior enforcement operations" and to limit "criminal alien and fugitive arrests". In March, the White House appealed to Congress to agree to fund 51,000 beds in immigration centers, citing a growing need for space amid stepped up enforcement policies.

The news comes as the Carolinas face potentially catastrophic damage from Hurricane Florence this Friday and as President Donald Trump called his administration's inadequate response to Puerto Rico an unsung success - despite the, you know, 2,975 estimated deaths and millions of people going months without electricity. He accused the administration of diverting funds from hurricane relief just as hurricane season was starting.

Merkley has been a leading critic of the Trump administration's immigration policies, including the "zero tolerance" policy at the border that resulted in almost 3,000 children separated from their families.

"This is a scandal", Merkley said in an emailed statement to the Post.

Bustle also reached out to Merkley's office for comment.

"We have plenty of resources, both monetary, staff and commodities, to respond to the storm", Jeff Byard, FEMA's associate administrator for the Office and Response and Recovery, told reporters during a morning briefing as Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolina coast.

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"It wasn't enough to crawl 1000's of early life out of the hands of their fogeys-the administration chose to in part pay for this horrific program by eradicating from the flexibility to answer to effort from this year's upcoming and doubtlessly devastating hurricane season", he talked about.

"We have plenty of resources both monetary, staff and commodities to respond to the unsafe storm that is Hurricane Florence", administrator Jeff Byard said.

"Right now, that money has nothing to do with what you see behind us", he said in an interview from the FEMA response center in Washington.

"(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. "Any elected official who attempts to politicize this storm to further their own partisan agenda and personal political ambitions should be ashamed of themselves". "We are ready for the big one that is coming!"

"This is yet another example of the Trump administration's outrageously misplaced homeland security priorities".

"There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: Storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland and damaging hurricane-force winds", warned the National Hurricane Service in the beginning of this week.

The revelation, just ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall in North and SC, was found by Sen.

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