Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Ohio, correctly stated that 10 million dollars were transferred from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE.
As #HurricaneFlorence bears down, I discovered today that the Trump Administration is taking money away from @FEMA so that they can pay to put more asylum seekers in detention centers. This is a scandal. pic.twitter.com/XRj928RIaD
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) September 12, 2018
Jeff Merkley appeared on the Rachael Maddow Show and stated that he obtained documents about the transfer during his work opposing the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that led to more than 2,000 children being separated from their parents when they entered the border, both illegally and at ports of entries.
The document in question is a notice of transfer and reprogramming from the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, the department that oversees both FEMA and ICE. $200 million went to ICE from other DHS agencies, including $9.8 from FEMA. The money will pay for detention beds and flights for deported immigrants.
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Tyler Q. Houlton responded about the transfer on Twitter stating, “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”.
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.
— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) September 12, 2018
However, as Politifact pointed out, Mr. Houlton is misrepresenting Senator Merkley’s statement, as he didn’t say in his tweet or in his MSNBC interview that the funds came from the disaster relief fund. He simply stated that the funds came from FEMA, which is a correct statement.
The photograph in the header was taken by a FEMA employee.