With tropical storm Dorian in the Caribbean and high weather activity in the hurricane corridor, the Trump Administration transferred on Tuesday $155 million from the emergency fund for natural disasters to the program for sending back to Mexico asylum seekers who cross the border illegally.
According to the opinion of specialists, the behavior of the Executive in relation to the implementation of its immigration policy has obsessive signs.
In concrete terms, the shifting is part of a larger fund of $271 million that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will re-budget from some of its agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reinforce Trump’s immigration and border strategy.
According to the local press that cites a DHS statement, it has been disclosed that $116 million will support new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detentions beds.
As stated by The Washington Post, ICE currently has in its custody some 54,000 undocumented immigrants, mostly adults who have just arrived in the U.S. and have no other crime than irregularly crossing the border.
The $155 million, on the other hand, will be used to “establish and operate (…) temporary Migrant Protecton Protocol (MPP) hearing facilities along the southern border”, used by the U.S. to return undocumented immigrants to Mexico in order to process in the neighboring country their cases.
FEMA’s $155 million shift coincides with the hurricane season in the United States and the passage of the tropical storm Dorian through Puerto Rico, already affected by the 2017 cyclones Maria and Irma.
In a statement sent to CNN, FEMA said that despite the transfer, and according to a study of its historical spending, it still has an amount of money “sufficient to support operational needs” and said the shift “will not impact ongoing long-term recovery efforts across the country.”
The shift in the DHS funds – originally approved by Congress – was rejected by the Democratic opposition.
“The Trump administration´s plan to divert money away from FEMA at the start of hurricane season to continue its efforts to separate and jail migrant families is backwards and cruel,” Democratic Senate Minority leader, Chuck Schumer said in a statement
“Taking these critical funds from disaster preparedness and recovery efforts threatens lives and weakens the government’s ability to help Americans in the wake of natural disasters,” Schumer added.
Translated by: José Espinoza