The Trump administration has informed Congress that it is transferring $271 million from various entities under the Department of Homeland Security to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This includes $155 million from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund.
Here's what we know
DHS was not asking Congress's permission for this move, but rather informing the legislative branch about the reallocation of funds. Since ICE is also under the DHS umbrella, the funds will not be moving between departments.
Among other things, these funds will be used to provide additional beds for detained illegal immigrants. It will also be used to fund hearings for asylum cases in Mexico.
An unnamed DHS official who spoke with CNN said that the transfer of funds was necessary because "this is a must-pay bill that needed to be addressed."
In a statement to NBC News, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said that the move would "drain millions from agencies tasked with protecting the homeland from security threats and natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires — including CBP, TSA, FEMA and the Coast Guard."
He added that Congress had already "appropriated the highest-ever funding for border security and immigration enforcement, which passed on a bipartisan basis and was signed by President Trump."
This news of cuts to FEMA comes as hurricane season begins to heat up, with Tropical Storm Dorian heading toward Puerto Rico. FEMA struggled to provide adequate assistance in 2018 when the U.S. island territory was hit hard by Hurricane Maria.
In 2018, DHS also transferred $3.4 million from FEMA for border security.