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Trump Administrator Pulls Millions of FEMA Disaster Assistance to Send to Southern Border



WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration is withdrawing $ 271 million in funding from the Department of Homeland Security, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund, to pay for immigration detention and temporary asylum hearings, who were forced to wait in Mexico, according to department officials and a letter sent to the agency by a California congresswoman.

To fund temporary places for asylum hearings along the southern border, ICE will earn $ 155 million, all from the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, according to a letter from resp. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, as seen by NBC News.

The allocations were sent to Congress as a notice, not as a request, because the administration believes it has the power to recover those funds after Congress no longer provides funding for ICE retention beds as part of the Southwest Emergency Finance Bill border in June. [1

9659002] Click here to read the notice. In particular, the Department of Homeland Security will lose $ 116 million previously allocated for coastguard operations, aviation security and other components to fund nearly 6,800 more beds for detained immigrants, officials said. persons.

"We would not say it was without risk, but we would say that we did it in a way … to minimize the risk. This is a mandatory payment of the bill, which must be addressed, "said a DHS official, who noted that the funds would start transferring immediately to finance the ICE by September 30.

Combined with the existing space, the financing will allow

The Trump administration claims that the sudden increase in border crossings in 2019 has flooded border resources and that the lack of detention facilities at ICE has delayed border stations, who before

In July, there were 82 049 undocumented migrants detained or presenting themselves at the southwestern border, a sharp decline from more than 144,000 in May, but still double the number observed the same month the previous year.

] $ 155 million in court hearings were initially allocated to FEMA in 2006 and 2007, but would be used in this budget to prepare for disaster response, such as hurricanes.

the administration began sending Central American migrants back to Mexico to await their U.S. court hearings as a means of delaying the number of asylum seekers who submit for asylum and remain in the United States until their hearing. The funding will allow those immigrants waiting in Mexico to hear their cases at the border instead of being transported to places inland.

"I object to the use of funds for this purpose because the Ministry has provided no justification for claiming that this transfer is necessary because of" extraordinary circumstances that directly endanger the safety of human life or the protection of property, "said Roybal-Allard citing a provision that would allow DHS to recover the funds at that time. in the budget cycle without notifying Congress.

Sep. John Tester of Montana, the Democrat-ranked Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee, also made reservations about the administration's plan.

"I have grave concerns about the proposed DHS implementation of legislation passed by Congress that will drain millions of agencies tasked with protecting their homeland from security and natural hazards such as hurricanes and wild fires – including CBP, TSA, FEMA and the Coast Guard, "Tester says in a statement.

" Congress has already considered DHS's request and has awarded the highest ever funding for border security and immigration enforcement, which was bilateral and signed by President Tru.

Alex Moe contributed.


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