Trump took $10 million from FEMA’s budget to pay for ICE detention centers

Sen. Jeff Merkley obtained a document showing a $9.8 million transfer from FEMA to ICE.

Donald Trump in the White House on September 11, 2018. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Donald Trump in the White House on September 11, 2018. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s administration cut nearly $10 million out of FEMA’s budget in order to fund ICE’s immigration detention centers, according a budget document obtained by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and disclosed on Tuesday night’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

As Maddow reported, Merkley’s staff believes these Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) transfers were made earlier this summer, right before the start of hurricane season.

Merkley, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, acquired the previously undisclosed document, which shows $9.8 million was diverted from FEMA to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to pay for more “detention beds” and “ICE’s transportation and removal program.”


Maddow said a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson did not dispute the authenticity of the document when contacted about it, but said the money had not come from the agency’s “disaster and recovery response efforts.”

Merkley disputed that claim in an appearance with Maddow on Tuesday, noting the budget document he obtained shows $9.8 million was transferred to ICE from FEMA’s response and recovery budget.

Merkley also disclosed that the Trump administration is planning on creating “family internment camps” for immigrants.

As ThinkProgress reported earlier today, over 400 migrant children remain apart from their families months after Trump announced he was ending his policy that separated parents from their children at the border.

Hurricane Florence is currently bearing down on the Atlantic Coast of the United States and estimates suggest it will have an adverse impact on the states of North and South Carolina. The Category 4 storm is expected to make landfall Friday morning. In a notice issued by the National Hurricane Service on Monday morning, the agency warned, “There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: Storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland and damaging hurricane-force winds.”