The Trump administration is diverting funds from several federal entities to address the ongoing crisis on the U.S. southern border, including paying for more detention beds and a migrant relocation program.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other Democrats are slamming the move, claiming it will hamper the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) efforts to respond as hurricane season gets underway.
“The Trump administration’s plan to divert money away from FEMA at the start of hurricane season to continue its efforts to separate and jail migrant families is backwards and cruel,” Schumer said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“Taking these critical funds from disaster preparedness and recovery efforts threatens lives and weakens the government’s ability to help Americans in the wake of natural disasters,” Schumer said. “Congress appropriated these funds to meet the American peoples’ [sic] priorities and I strongly oppose this effort to undermine our constitutional authority.”
The Hill reported on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement, which was also made on Tuesday:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Tuesday that it will reprogram $271 million to expand its immigration detention capacity and fund a program to return Central American migrants to Mexico.
Of the total DHS funding reallocation, $116 million will go toward single adult detention beds, while $155 million will be used to cater to the Migrant Protection Protocols program.
In addition to FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, money will be taken from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration.
Schumer and other Democrats are politicizing border security as Tropical Storm Dorian heads towards Puerto Rico and Florida.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) called the administration’s move “déjà vu all over again,” the Hill reported.
“President Trump and his administration are not just endangering the lives of the children and families they seek to harm in the name of deterrence,” Merkley said. “By shortchanging preparedness, they’re endangering the lives of millions of Americans who live in hurricane zones as well.”
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