The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it was planning to transfer at least $115 million out of FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund and direct the funds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). According to documents provided to Congress by the DHS, the funds would be used to pay for new detention facility beds as part of ICE’s ongoing immigration enforcement operations.
Multiple members of Congress expressed outrage at the move, announced as Hurricane Dorian neared the East Coast. Administration officials downplayed the effect of the transfer on FEMA’s operations, however, with FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor calling it a “drop in the bucket” when compared with FEMA’s overall budget. Although not drawn from emergency response accounts, the money will come from an account dedicated to agency operations, which includes policy development and strategic planning, as well as the prepositioning of emergency personnel and supplies. FEMA has been the subject of several Government Accountability Office reports raising concerns about widespread understaffing at the agency and the agency employees’ lack of training in accommodating individuals living with disabilities.
Read comments by members of Congress at: https://abcn.ws/2QpzMXa
Read an overview of the circumstances surrounding the transfer at: https://n.pr/30G8IHH