After reports surfaced on Sept. 11 of this year about the Trump administration diverting money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s budget to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Administration confirmed that money was transferred from FEMA to ICE for their Enforcement and Removal Operations team, which arrests and deports immigrants who are found to be in the U.S. illegally.
However, the near $10 million transfer did not include money from disaster relief funds, according to Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Tyler Q. Houlton.
This latest denial from the Trump’s administration comes as no surprise, but nevertheless, it is still another bad decision at a time when FEMA needs as much money as they can get.
Hurricane Florence, a category 4 storm, thrashed the Carolinas and parts of Virginia killing at least 36 people and leaving over 1.1 million people in affected areas without power. The damage left behind by Florence is catastrophic. Highways have turned into rivers and homes have been destroyed.
As the people in these areas look to move forward, they need help. Trump decided to divert this money just before hurricane season, and in the aftermath of Florence thousands of people need the help of FEMA. With an extra $10 million, many more workers could be dispatched and help those in need.
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon posted the transfer on Twitter showing the $9.75 million taken away from FEMA. He called the transfer both unbelievable and reprehensible. But even after the proof of the transfer, Houlton said that the money that was transferred could not have been used for hurricane response because of appropriation limitations.
Houlton went on to say that these reports are a sorry attempt and push a false agenda, but the fact of the matter remains that there are nearly $10 million less to help people on the east coast because Trump and his administration thinks that arresting and deporting people is a more pressing need.
Trump continues to make bad decisions, but taking help away from people that have just have just had their lives turned upside down is just downright evil, and there should be a better explanation than just appropriation limitations.