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DHS Gave ICE an Extra $169 Million to Detain and Remove Immigrants Last Month

Nearly $10 million was redirected from FEMA.

Tina Burch/ZUMA Press/NewscomTina Burch/ZUMA Press/NewscomThe Trump administration came under fire this week following the revelation that nearly $10 million had been transferred from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to help pay for the detention and removal of immigrants. But that $10 million was just a fraction of the $169 million that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) redirected to ICE in August.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D–Ore.) highlighted the transfer of funds during a Tuesday night interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. Merkley cited a 39-page DHS document sent to Congress that detailed how the money was moved around. In addition to the $9.8 million in FEMA money that ended up funding things like "Detention Beds" and ICE's "Transportation and Removal Program," DHS redirected tens of millions from other agencies. NBC News reports:

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, making the total amount of money transferred $202 million.

DHS does not have to notify Congress as a whole before moving money between its agencies. It just needs to get permission from the relevant appropriations subcommittee chairs in the House and Senate. These transfers were approved by those chairs, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.) told the Associated Press. Leahy, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said no Democrats supported the transfers. Since Republicans control Congress, that didn't matter.

It's not the first time DHS has redirected money from other agencies to ICE. A combined $83 million was repurposed in the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, plus an additional $127 million in fiscal year 2016, CNN reports. "[It's] this pattern of misbehavior by ICE where they overspend the amount they have been given by Congress, specifically for immigration detention, and then they make it up by basically robbing other accounts in DHS," Mary Small, director of the immigrant rights group Detention Watch Network, told CNN. Small's organization provided Merkley with the DHS document.

The document suggests the most recent transfers were at least partly a result of "increasing operational demands." But in the past, Congress has criticized ICE's mismanagement of money.

According to a 2017 House statement about DHS funding, "The lack of fiscal discipline and cavalier management of funding for detention operations, evidenced by inaccurate budget formulation and uneven execution, seems to be the result of a perception that [ICE's enforcement and removal operations are] funded by an indefinite appropriation." In its proposal for DHS funding in fiscal year 2019, the Senate Appropriations Committee noted that "ICE continues to spend at an unsustainable rate."

Photo Credit: Tina Burch/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • JeremyR||

    Eh, protecting the borders is in the Constitution, disaster relief is not.

  • Tony||

    Lol, where?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Article I, section 9, takes the restriction off congress to regulate migrants and slaves as of 1808.

    Slavery is banned but migration of free persons can still be regulated by congress.

  • Tony||

    Uhhh no.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Says the Kool aid man.

  • ||

    Interesting, one of the major issues that the War of Independence was fought over was that the British wanted to restrict immigration into the colonies while the Colonists did not.

  • ||

    And, unless I am mistaken, the only clause in the Constitution that uses the word "immigration" is a reference to thr importation of slaves, otherwise the Constitution pretty much says to Europe, "come on. y'all."

  • BYODB||

    Hmm, so in your view the necessary and proper clause doesn't exist? I assume this is why you didn't bother pointing out the wording of the 'slavery import clause'.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Article I, section 9

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    DHS gave ICE $169 million for immigration enforcement. It was supposed to hurt 75,000 immigrants, but it only hurt 60.

  • Shirley Knott||

    ICWYDT

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's about as narrow a reference joke as I could possibly make. You really REALLY had to be there... and by 'there' I mean in several specific places at a specific time to get it.

  • Don't look at me.||

    I was there, man. I saw the whole thing.

  • Rich||

    The document suggests the most recent transfers were at least partly a result of "increasing operational demands."

    Sheesh, Joe, it can't very well suggest the transfers were at least partly the result of mismanagement!

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    But that $10 million was just a fraction of the $169 million that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) redirected to ICE in August.


    If that means MAGA hat-wearers get their wish (something they wet-dream about) of seeing screaming and crying women and children cruely pushed into boxcar to be shipped out to a place they don't know anymore, then "it's worth it", like that other ghoul, Madeleine Albright, said once about dead children.

  • Just Say'n||

    Honestly, that's a good analogy. Not quite the same, but I see your point

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Boxcars = buses and planes...but whatever.

    When you're on an open-border rant, why point out how ridiculous your Hitler reference is.

  • Tony||

    You are literally Hitler, only much dumber and much less ambitious.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Im not a socialist like Hitler was.

  • Longtobefree||

    "Procedures were followed".

  • DWB||

    Hurray???

  • Tony||

    Sure are a lot of racist fuckstains on this site.

  • WhatAboutBob||

    But enough about you.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    GOOD!

    Deport as many of those illegal fuckers as you can.

  • Just Say'n||

    Did Feinstein give you this or is this actually true?

    It's a little difficult to take you guys seriously when you push out conspiracy theories and pretend like we should just accept them at face value without any basis in fact

  • BYODB||

    So today FEMA is good, because you can bash ICE with it.


    At least that's what I've seen the Democrats and the talking heads are saying. I note few are pointing out Puerto Rico's fucked up local government, but rather most are lionizing them. Curious. I guess because they aren't from Louisiana?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    So, what's the problem here? Hasn't been a very disastrous year, and Florence just got downgraded to category 1, so we're probably going to finish out the year without even a single major hurricane making landfall. Does FEMA have to keep the money even if they don't have anything to do with it?

    This is actually fiscally sensible, if you're not an open borders fanatic.

  • Benitacanova||

    I'd equate an invasion with a hurricane. I guess that makes me racist.

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