FEMA has been stretched thin as the country was ravaged by intense wildfires and hurricanes over the last year. The disaster relief agency is currently preparing for a response to Hurricane Florence as the storm is expected to cause massive flooding in the Carolinas.
President Donald Trump’s administration transferred nearly $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier this year to fund immigrant detention and deportation efforts, according to a document released Tuesday by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
Department of Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton denied that the $10 million was taken from disaster relief, claiming Merkley’s accusation was 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.”
The document released by Merkley, which was supplied to HuffPost, states that more than $2.3 million from a total of about $9.8 million had been diverted from FEMA’s “response and recovery” budget. Other funding was transferred from regional operations, mitigation efforts, preparedness and protection, and mission support budgets.
This story has been updated with a statement from FEMA.