FEMA administrator's government vehicle use under investigation by DHS inspector general

Chris Kleponis  ZUMA Press  Newscom

Chris Kleponis ZUMA Press NewscomWhere the Department of Homeland Security puts its resources

According to a copy of the document obtained by CNN, the money transfer amounts to less than 1% of FEMA's overall $1.03 billion budget.

Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) released documents late Tuesday showing that the Trump administration transferred almost $10 million away from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) just ahead of hurricane season in order to fund the White House's cruel family separation and deportation efforts.

Merkley calls the transfer "reprehensible", and immigration advocates say it highlights an alarming shift in priorities, but the White House is adamant that the redistribution of funds will have no harmful effect on the response to Hurricane Florence.

In the request for a transfer of funds, more than $4 million of the funds from FEMA are listed as "response and recovery" or "preparedness and protection".

Merkely said he believes the budgeting reallocation happened in response to the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy, which was rolled out earlier this year. Watch above, via MSNBC.

Congress sets funding levels for all parts of government through the appropriations process, but funding reprogramming requests like this one are authorized under the law for relatively small amounts of money within agencies. One of the people responsible for this transfer is Kansas 3rd District Rep. Kevin Yoder, who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees the Department of Homeland Security budget.

"If the Congress approves the request, ICE would have the funding for operations necessary to support and increase staffing and operations as the DHS secretary determines to be appropriate", Katie Waldman, a spokesperson for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement.

Speaking in the Oval Office on Tuesday, FEMA chief Brock Long warned that Florence "has an opportunity of being a devastating storm". He also said that the transferred money came from routine operating expenses and "could not have been used for hurricane response due to appropriation limitations".

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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 document, which was released by the office of Senator Jeff Merkley, of OR, shows that the money would come from FEMA's operations and support budget and was transferred into accounts at ICE to pay for detention and removal operations.

The revelation, just ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall in North and SC, was found by Sen. DHS spokesman, Tyler Q. Houlton, tweeted that none of the money came from FEMA's operations budget.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo is seen inside press conference room, May 11, 2017, at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Washington, D.C.

"FEMA will curtail training, travel, public engagement sessions, IT security support and infrastructure maintenance, and IT investments in the legacy grants systems for transition to the Grants Management Modernization Program", the document read. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said in an interview Wednesday.

The move comes as the Trump administration has pursued an aggressive immigration agenda, ramping up arrests of undocumented immigrants and deportations.

"Nearly 3,000 people died", Sen. He also used the occasion to trumpet as an "incredible, unsung success" his administration's response to Hurricane Maria, which caused almost 3,000 deaths on Puerto Rico, a US territory already badly damaged by Hurricane Irma weeks earlier.

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