WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The federal government says it is doing what it can to get ready for Hurricane Florence.
However, some are questioning the Trump administration’s decision to divert funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to provide more beds at its adult detention centers on the border.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a video message to those in Florence’s path, saying the federal government will be there for you.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 12, 2018
FEMA has already staged recovery supplies near the coast and is ready to deploy.
Trump has declared states of emergency in the Carolinas and Virginia, clearing the way for immediate federal assistance. But critics are questioning a Trump administration decision to divert some of FEMA’s funds to keep shelters open along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This is all part of the child separation policy and that’s how this information came into my hands because of my work on this issue of trying to stop the child separations,” Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Merkley released documents showing nearly ten million dollars was sent to ICE, more than four million of which came from “response and recover” or “preparedness and protection” categories. FEMA said it is making up for the funds by curtailing training, travel, and public engagement.
“We have plenty of resources to respond, we have plenty of resources to recover. That has not impacted our situation whatsoever,” said FEMA associate administrator for response and recovery Jeff Byard.
FEMA said the diverted funds are less than one percent of the agency’s total operating expenses and it has a separate account totaling $25-billion it uses for disaster responses.