As the predictions of Hurricane Florence’s impact on the east coast become more dire by the hour, FEMA’s budget is apparently $10 million lighter. The Trump administration reportedly transferred that amount from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier this year.
Budget documents show the transfer of $9,755,303 from FEMA to ICE. That represents just under 1% of the agency’s overall budget. Money was also transferred to ICE from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration.
The money, according to the document, was used to increase detentions on the southern border, remove undocumented immigrants and pay for beds in detention centers.
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Funds are regularly transferred among government departments. And this transfer happened several months ago. But news of it comes as the National Weather Service warns that Hurricane Florence “will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast.”
Tylet Houlton, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security (which oversees both FEMA and ICE), told USA Today the money that was transferred will have no impact on disaster preparedness.
“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,” he said.
FEMA’s 2017 budget was devastated by several major storms and was nearly tapped out before Hurricane Irma hit Florida.