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DHS to use FEMA, TSA money for deportations, detentions and other immigration enforcement

Then-Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Released)
August 27, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security will be diverting up to $271 million of disaster relief funds to immigration enforcement.

DHS informed Congress of the fund transfer last month, though the documents were revealed this week and came under criticism from some Trump Administration critics, CNN reported Tuesday.

The funds will be moved from multiple agencies, including DHS’ cyber agency, research and constructions funds, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Washington Times noted.

In the documents, Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said the transferred funds would not impact the operation of any agency.

McAleenan explained that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency required $101.4 million for detention beds and $14.6 million for transportation and deportation.

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An increasing number of migrants have been held in detention, necessitating another expansion.

The DHS is largely overwhelmed by the number of migrants at the southern border and resources have been quickly spent on what has previously been referred to as a “crisis.”

Additionally, McAleenan said he is transferring $155 million for the expansion of the Migration Protection Protocol to build more courtrooms that will hear asylum cases to determine if applicants will have to wait outside the U.S. while their case is being processed in courts.

House Appropriations Committee chairwoman Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard said in a letter to the DHS that she had “significant concerns about the intended use of funds.”

Other critics of the Trump Administration expressed similar concerns.

Madhuri Grewal, an ACLU lawyer, said, “The agency’s reckless disregard for constitutional checks and balances has grown its budget to the largest ever — and led to the detention of an unprecedented number of immigrants.”

The influx of migrants in DHS facilities has been a tremendous issue for the agency and taxing on resources.

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Acting CBP Commissioner John P. Sanders said in May that 16,000 illegal immigrants were in custody and overwhelming detention facilities.

“The U.S. Border Patrol had over 16,000 people in custody, many of whom are in overcrowded facilities. This is the result of a record number of Border Patrol apprehensions – 500,000 so far this year,” Sanders said in a CBP statement.

“We may need to take additional action for the welfare of those in our custody and the health and safety of everyone, including our law enforcement personnel and support staff at our processing facilities,” he added.

In all of 2009, 540,000 apprehensions were made for the entire year. Every year since has resulted in less than 500,000 apprehensions for the whole year.

DHS confirmed in March that the number of immigrants apprehended by border patrol officials has been increasing exponentially, and is on pace to reach one million by the end of the year.