DHS says FEMA money transfer won’t harm hurricane relief

DHS says FEMA money transfer won’t harm hurricane relief

"This has not impacted our situation whatsoever", Byard told reporters.

"Transferring funds from FEMA means there are some activities that FEMA is doing that are considered lower priority".

Sen. Jeff Merkley's claim, which came as a monster hurricane barreled toward the Carolinas, was quickly branded by Homeland Security as "a sorry attempt to push a false agenda". In Puerto Rico, where the estimated death toll from Hurricane Maria has ranged as high as 5,000, the Government Accountability Office said the agency's poor response was compounded by a failure to deploy enough qualified staff. DHS also transferred $33 million from other ICE programs to pay for detention and removal, making the total amount of money transferred $202 million.

It seems they can always come up with the money after the disaster.

"We need to look over the long term about being more prepared", said Rep. Darren Soto (D) Florida. But the document says "mission impact is minimized as FEMA will curtail training, travel, public engagement sessions, IT security support and infrastructure maintenance".

The amount transferred is a sliver of the agency's budget, which is less than one percent.

Over the a year ago there have been questions about whether FEMA's resources have been spread too thin as it responds to hurricanes - the $10 million has attracted attention, but it is a small portion of FEMA's annual $15 billion budget.

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.

The money will reportedly be used to house immigrants detained by ICE at the Mexican border.

Merkley's communications director Ray Zaccaro slammed the President for "stripping money from FEMA to pay for locking up families at the border" in a statement issued Wednesday.

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The transfers benefitted ICE's detention and removal operations, NBC News reported, and documents given to Congress specifically mentioned ICE's going millions over-budget in its effort to expand the capacity of its detention centers. Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Houlton also stated that DHS did not shift disaster relief funding away from FEMA. And I think the bigger picture here that it's really important to keep our eye on is the kind of single-minded focus that that DHS has had on moving money from other accounts into immigration detention, in pursuit of this really ramped-up enforcement, frankly, detention- and deportation-machine that they are operating.

But DHS officials said the money was transferred from the department's unspent operational accounts for training, office supplies and headquarters costs.

"DHS/FEMA stand fiscally and operationally ready to support current and future response and recovery needs", he said. However, the movement of the funds is raising questions about FEMA's preparedness as Hurricane Florence charges toward the Carolinas and Virginia. But that is still less than 1% of its overall operations budget.

The Post noted that ICE asked Congress to place the $1 billion in funding in the continuing resolution.

The agency urged Congress last month to include the extra funds in a stopgap spending measure that lawmakers must pass to avoid a government shutdown when the new fiscal year starts October 1.

It is true that Congress sets funding levels for all parts of government through the appropriations process.

DHS is required to notify the House and Senate Appropriations Committees of reprogramming of funds in excess of $5 million, according to a 2009 appropriations measure.

Other Democratic lawmakers called the reallocation "shameful".

"I would dispute the statement that this has no bearing on ... addressing the challenges from hurricanes", Merkley said.

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