Trump administration taps disaster, cyber funds to cover immigration

By Andy Sullivan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is shifting $271 million earmarked for disaster aid and cyber security to pay for immigration-related facilities, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a leading congressional Democrat said on Tuesday. The money, which was also set aside for the U.S.

Reuters August 28, 2019 05:11:42 IST
Trump administration taps disaster, cyber funds to cover immigration

Trump administration taps disaster cyber funds to cover immigration

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is shifting $271 million earmarked for disaster aid and cyber security to pay for immigration-related facilities, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a leading congressional Democrat said on Tuesday.

The money, which was also set aside for the U.S. Coast Guard, will be used to pay for detention facilities and courts for migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. DHS officials say they have been overwhelmed by a surge of asylum-seeking migrants who are fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

The Trump administration is seeking to circumvent Congress and move money originally designated for other programs. This will allow the administration to continue to house immigrants arriving at the border, part of President Donald Trump's promise not to "catch and release" migrants and allow them to await hearings outside of custody.

The administration plans to take $115 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster-relief fund just as hurricane season is heating up in the Atlantic Ocean, according to a letter from U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, who chairs the congressional panel that oversees Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spending.

The letter also details that money will be taken for planned upgrades to the National Cybersecurity Protection System and new equipment for the U.S. Coast Guard, Roybal-Allard said.

DHS said Congress did not provide enough money for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain single adults as they wait for their cases to be heard by an immigration judge.

Congress appropriated $2.8 billion to pay for 52,000 beds this year, but ICE is currently detaining more than 55,000 immigrants, a record high, according to agency statistics.

Roybal-Allard said DHS exceeded its authority to move money around to respond to emergencies.

"Once again, DHS has ignored the negotiated agreement with Congress by vastly exceeding the amount appropriated for immigration enforcement and removal operations," she said in a statement.

FEMA spokeswoman Lizzie Litzow said the funding reduction will not impact 1readiness efforts or other functions for which the money was earmarked.

Trump has made cracking down on legal and illegal immigration a hallmark of his presidency after campaigning in 2016 on a promise, so far unfulfilled, that Mexico would pay for a border wall to keep migrants from entering the United States.

A record-setting 42,000 families were apprehended along the U.S. southern border in July, more than twice as many as in May.

Last week, DHS unveiled a new rule that would allow officials to detain migrant families indefinitely - abolishing a previous 20-day limit - while judges consider whether to grant them asylum in the United States.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.