"This is a scandal": Homeland Security transferred $10 million from FEMA to immigrant detention centers

Reports state that over $2.3 million from a total of nearly $9.8 million was transferred from the emergency management agency's 'response and recovery' budget


                            "This is a scandal": Homeland Security transferred $10 million from FEMA to immigrant detention centers

With hurricane season setting in the United States and monster Hurricane Florence fast approaching the Carolinas, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, has released disturbing documents which reveal that the Trump administration transferred nearly $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) earlier this year to fund immigrants detention centers.

The Democrat lawmaker shared the documents with MSNBC on Tuesday stating that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested the money for deportation efforts for its new 'zero tolerance' immigration policy "just as hurricane season [was] starting." The controversial Trump administration immigration policy received worldwide condemnation as it resulted in the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents.

Hundreds of immigration activists, clergy members, and others participate in a protest against President Donald Trump's immigration policies in front of the Federal Building on January 11, 2018, in New York City. As the Trump administration continues to focus their attention on deportations and the building of a new wall along the Mexican and American border, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests are up. From late January through August 2017, arrests by ICE were up more than 43 percent since the same period in 2016 (Getty Images)
Hundreds of immigration activists, clergy members, and others participate in a protest against President Donald Trump's immigration policies in front of the Federal Building on January 11, 2018, in New York City. As the Trump administration continues to focus their attention on deportations and the building of a new wall along the Mexican and American border, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests are up. From late January through August 2017, arrests by ICE were up more than 43 percent since the same period in 2016 (Getty Images)

Merkley, in a statement to HuffPost, said: "This is a scandal. At the start of hurricane season — when American citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still suffering from FEMA’s inadequate recovery efforts — the administration transferred millions of dollars away from FEMA. And for what? To implement their profoundly misguided ‘zero tolerance’ policy. It wasn’t enough to rip thousands of children out of the arms of their parents — the administration chose to partly pay for this horrific program by taking away from the ability to respond to damage from this year’s upcoming and potentially devastating hurricane season.”

The document was released just hours before the potentially catastrophic Hurricane Florence, which was downgraded to a Category 3 storm, makes landfall in North and South Carolinas. Millions of people are currently evacuating the region ahead of the dangerous storm.

In this NOAA satellite handout image, Hurricane Florence is seen travelling west and gaining strength in the Atlantic Ocean Southeast of Bermuda on September 10, 2018. Weather predictions say the storm will likely hit the U.S. East Coast as early as Thursday, September 13 bringing massive winds and rain.
In this NOAA satellite handout image, Hurricane Florence is seen travelling west and gaining strength in the Atlantic Ocean Southeast of Bermuda on September 10, 2018. Weather predictions say the storm will likely hit the U.S. East Coast as early as Thursday, September 13 bringing massive winds and rain.

Merkley, while talking to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, said: "$10 million comes out of FEMA when we’re facing a hurricane season knowing what’s happened last year. And look what we’ve had since, a hurricane just barely misses Hawaii...Now we have this hurricane, Florence, bearing down on the Carolinas."

DHS spokesperson, Tyler Houlton, however, released a statement on Tuesday, saying the senator's appearance on the television network was a "sorry attempt to push a false agenda." Houlton added that the Trump administration is instead “focused on assisting millions on the East Coast facing a catastrophic disaster," according to reports.

US Senator Jeff Merkley joins a press conference during the COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference on November 11, 2017, in Bonn, Germany. (Getty Images)
US Senator Jeff Merkley joins a press conference during the COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference on November 11, 2017, in Bonn, Germany. (Getty Images)

Houlton wrote on Twitter: "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.”

Reports state that over $2.3 million from a total of nearly $9.8 million was transferred from the emergency management agency's "response and recovery" budget, while other funding was transferred from regional operations, mitigation efforts, preparedness and protection, and mission support budgets.