U.S. says transfer from FEMA funds won't harm hurricane relief

People are seen inside a shelter run by Red Cross before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Grantsboro North Carolina

Politico: FEMA administrator probed over travel, car use

Tina Burch/ZUMA Press/NewscomThe Trump administration came under fire this week following the revelation that almost $10 million had been transferred from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to help pay for the detention and removal of immigrants.

"We have plenty of resources to respond".

Byard said FEMA expected power outages, infrastructure damage and potential loss of life.

At the beginning of his tenure at FEMA a year ago, Long started using a staff driver to get him back home to Hickory, North Carolina, according to Politico.

Meanwhile, immigration advocates are concerned not just about where the money came from, but where it went.

The administration, however, has a fraught track record when it comes to hurricane relief.

"Administrator Long and the FEMA workforce are focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and other active tropical systems", Nalepa said in a statement on Twitter in response to the Politico report.

Where did that money come from?

"This is a scandal", Merkley said in a statement provided to HuffPost. Connolly accused the president of "putting lives at risk in the middle of hurricane season".

The additional $200 million would put ICE's budget for detention and transportation at more than $3.6 billion.

As a potentially catastrophic hurricane bears down on the East Coast of the U.S., the shifting of $10 million from FEMA's operating budget to fund immigration detention and deportations is drawing condemnation from Democrats. And that's not counting the disaster relief budget at all, which has $25 billion in it, DHS says.

Merkley says the money was for an expansion including "more detention centers". "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".

Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Houlton denied that DHS shifted disaster relief funding away from FEMA.

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. "DHS/FEMA stand fiscally and operationally ready to support current and future response and recovery needs", Houlton tweeted.

CNN received a copy of the document from Merkley's office.

Without the extra money, officials warned in the request, they may be forced to suspend arrests and deportations of people deemed "threats to public safety" until Congress passes a full spending bill.

But that $10 million was just a fraction of the $169 million that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) redirected to ICE in August. Other agencies had money moved around.

DHS does not have to notify Congress as a whole before moving money between its agencies.

Many Democratic lawmakers have called for the agency to be abolished. Both signed off on this reallocation, Republican and Democratic aides told CNN.

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