MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported Tuesday, based on documents provided by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), that the Department of Homeland Security shifted about $9.8 million from FEMA’s budget to that of ICE.
The transfer reportedly happened this summer, at the beginning of hurricane season, and less than a year after the catastrophic damage wreaked by Hurricane Maria, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives during the storm and in its aftermath. President Donald Trump called emergency efforts for that storm an “incredible unsung success.”
A DHS spokesperson told Maddow that the funds did not come from any “disaster response or recovery efforts” but did not dispute the transfer.
Merkley contradicted the spokesperson’s defense, saying that the documents list the money as coming from FEMA’s “response and recovery” line, and he added that the decision seems especially misguided as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast.
According to Merkley’s documents, the money is slated to be used for costs associated with immigrant detention and deportation.
Watch Maddow’s segment here.