The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reportedly transferred about $169 million to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this year from different government agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
NBC News reported on Thursday that the funds were transferred to ICE in order to help with the removal and detention of immigrants who were in the country illegally.
According to the report, many of the transfers came from key national security programs, including $1.8 million from the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, $9.8 million from FEMA, $29 million from the U.S. Coast Guard and more than $34 million from several TSA programs.
DHS also transferred $33 million from other ICE programs to pay for detention and removal. That brought the total amount of money transferred to $202 million.
NBC News reports:
The FEMA and Coast Guard transfers were first reported by “The Rachel Maddow Show.” On Tuesday night, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., announced on the show that nearly $10 million was moved from FEMA’s budget to ICE. The budget document Merkley cited, which was later released and publicized by the DHS Watch program at America’s Voice, an advocacy group based in Washington, showed a breakdown of how DHS moved money between different programs and agencies.
The department has the authority to move funds around internally with the approval of Congress and transfers are not unusual. The total DHS budget for fiscal 2018 was $65 billion; FEMA’s total budget was $15.5 billion.
A spokesman for DHS, Tyler Houlton, said Tuesday that the money from DHS could not have been used for this year’s hurricane preparations due to “appropriation limitations.”
“Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from @fema to immigration enforcement efforts. This is a sorry attempt to push a false agenda at a time when the administration is focused on assisting millions on the East Coast facing a catastrophic disaster,” Houlton wrote.