Disaster Aid Money Earmarked To Help Hurricane-Stricken Areas Diverted Toward Funding Border Detentions
Diverting funds appropriated by Congress is permitted only in extraordinary circumstances, and Democrats disagree that the crisis at the border warrants such a decision. The move comes as Puerto Rico, which still hasn't recovered from past disasters, braces for Tropical Storm Dorian.
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Administration To Divert Hurricane Relief Funds For Border Detention
The Trump administration plans to use $271 million of Department of Homeland Security funds, including some designated to help hurricane-stricken areas, to detain and remove immigrants who cross the southern U.S. border illegally. DHS plans to divert money that lawmakers had designated for other purposes at the agency to increase its capacity to handle people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, many of whom are Central Americans seeking asylum from violence in their home countries. (Andrews and Hackman, 8/27)
The Washington Post:
Trump Administration Will Divert Disaster Relief Funds To U.S.-Mexico Border Enforcement, Prompting Outcry From Democrats
The move comes amid an intensifying battle between Democrats and President Trump over the administration’s response to the flow of migrants and asylum seekers from Central America into the United States. It also comes as a hurricane watch has been issued for Puerto Rico ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian, which could force the Federal Emergency Management Agency to tap the relief funds. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, said the move was indicative of “a growing disconnect between the will of Congress” and the implementation of immigration enforcement operations. (Sonmez and Sacchetti, 8/27)
Trump Administration To Use Millions In Disaster Aid For Migrant Detention Centers
In a statement to CBS News, FEMA said the transfer of funds to "support the border emergency" will leave the agency with $447 million in funding for future disaster relief efforts. "This amount will be sufficient to support operational needs and will not impact ongoing long-term recovery efforts across the country," the agency added. FEMA said the current pool of funding for ongoing recovery efforts, including those for natural disasters in 2017, will not be affected by the transfer. In its notification to Congress, DHS said the disaster relief funds left intact at FEMA will be sufficient to sustain operations "absent significant new catastrophic events." (Montoya-Galvez, 8/27)
In other news from the administration —
How Will 'Public Charge' Rule Change Impact Massachusetts?
The Trump administration instituted a recent immigration rule change, one that's a year in the making. This rule, on public charge, links immigrants' future legal status to their use of public benefits: food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid. (Dearing, Bologna and Mitchell, 8/27)