Frontera Fund News Trump Watch

Trump Administration Transferred Funds from FEMA to ICE Before Hurricane Florence Hit

Hurricane Florence Slams Into Coast Of Carolinas
This NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Florence as it made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on September 14, 2018. The National Hurricane Center reported Florence had sustained winds of 90 mph at landfall and was moving slowly westward at 6 mph.
Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

Hurricane Florence has dumped 30 inches of rain in different areas of North Carolina, cutting off power to almost 500 homes and businesses. It is reported that at least 30 people died as a consequence of the hurricane in three states: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. As I write this blog, flooding is still happening in the area.

As Florence passed through towns and cities, journalists reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has received a total of $200 million from different federal agencies, including $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover for ICE’s overspending as the number of immigrants detained escalates due to zero tolerance policies.

This transfer of funds helps pay private contractors and nonprofits that supply more real estate and services to incarcerate many asylum-seekers and is indicative of alarming overspending.

We already blogged on Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund about the transfer of money from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ICE. Read our July 2018 blog here.

The money extracted from HHS was supposed to cover a potential health emergency, such as an infectious disease outbreak, but is being diverted to warehouses to detain families and children.

Reporters kept digging to find more money transfers from different federal agencies, including FEMA’s “Response and Recovery” account. More than $30 million was taken from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), nearly $63 million from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and $35 million from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Yes. The Trump administration is ransacking money from FEMA in the midst of hurricane season, as well as valuable funding from other equally important agencies that safeguard our well-being.

Do you feel safer now?

This has been done quietly, without transparency and without congressional approval.

According to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the top Democratic member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, neither Senate nor House Democrats signed off on the multiple transfers.

“It has been no secret that President Trump’s [enforcement actions come] at a hefty price – a price that robs our country of its values and its resources,” he said. “This case is no different, and now our Eastern Coast is left even more vulnerable in the path of Hurricane Florence. I am hopeful that the administration will see the consequences of its actions and begin to work with Republicans AND Democrats to actually address the problems in our immigration system.”

It is clear that “zero tolerance” policies are not in the best interest of Americans.

Officials with the administration defended the actions saying the money transfers “won’t harm hurricane relief efforts”.

Tell that to the residents of the damaged areas.