Trump Officials Insist FEMA Fund Transfer To ICE Won’t Affect Hurricane Dorian Response

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testifies for agency’s fiscal year 2020 budget request before Senate Homeland Security Committee on Capitol Hill on May 23, 2019 in Washin... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testifies for agency’s fiscal year 2020 budget request before Senate Homeland Security Committee on Capitol Hill on May 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Last year, the administration separated more than 2,500 children from parents as part of a policy to prosecute anyone caught crossing into the United States illegally, but that practice was stopped. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 1, 2019 1:07 p.m.
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The acting heads of the Department Homeland Security and FEMA said on Sunday that the Trump administration’s decision to transfer $155 million from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to ICE won’t hinder the administration’s response to Hurricane Dorian, a category 5 storm headed for the U.S.

Acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan told “This Week” host Martha Raddatz that “no money has been moved yet” from the fund to help ICE run its migrant detention facilities at the border.

“We have to do a notification to Congress in advance,” said McAleenan. “Any potential transfers will not impact our ability to respond to this storm or any other storms in the rest of the hurricane season.”

The acting DHS chief maintained that the $155 million transfer to the immigration agency is necessary because “Congress didn’t see fit to provide that funding.”

In a following interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” McAleenan said that his department has “fully adequate funding” to deal with Dorian.

When pressed by CBS host Margaret Brennan, McAleenan said the administration still plans on extracting the $155 million because “we do have an ongoing border security humanitarian crisis.”

Acting FEMA head Peter Gaynor hedged a little more than McAleenan, telling “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that his agency has “all the funds that we need” but admitted there was still some risk in the transfer.

“It doesn’t hurt preparation, but I’m not going to say there’s no risk,” Gaynor said. “So we manage risk every day. You know, moving money has some risk, but we assess it to have minimal risk on our ongoing operations from 2017 and ’18 and our preparation for this season, 2019.”

The acting FEMA chief struck a similar tone when discussing the transfer with Fox News host Chris Wallace.

“We live with risk every day, we assess risk,” Gaynor said. “We assess that $155 million is low risk and it is not affecting our preparedness whatsoever for Dorian.”

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