The Trump administration transferred the funds from the agency that responds to disasters and emergencies to help pay for one of President Trump’s top priorities — the deportation of undocumented U.S. residents, NPR reports. The funds transfer is prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cut back on training, IT security and infrastructure investments. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) calls the transfer “reprehensible.” 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.
The fund transfer was disclosed in a June 30 document obtained by Merkley, a critic of Trump’s immigration policies who helped draw attention to the separation of families at the border. The Department of Homeland Security, which includes both FEMA and ICE, told Congress that ICE needed an extra $200 million to cover the costs of detaining and deporting more migrants than the agency had expected. To cover the shortfall, DHS “reprogrammed” its financial resources, which is permitted under budget rules.