Thursday, September 13, 2018

Funding for hurricane relief diverted to ICE's detention program. The bottom of the Trump administration cruel bungling is not yet in sight.

One of the great ironies of the Trump era is the administration’s completely duplicitous claims about Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria and the actual fatality count. Yesterday Trump was on television taking credit for Puerto Rico as an “unsung success”. But what he did not say is that over 2900 Puerto Ricans died because of the bungled response to that disaster. Rachel Maddow reported in her show yesterday on Trump’s claims: Trump praises P.R. response despite nearly 3000 American deaths.

Rachel Maddow notes that the last Category 4 hurricane to hit the United States was Hurricane Maria, which was an unmitigated, tragic disaster that resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans. Despite this, Donald Trump boasted about his administration’s response as an “unsung success.”

But wait! There’s another disaster in the making just around the corner as Hurricane Florence is about to trash the east coast of the United States. Here’s an item from 538’s significant digits email.

$9.8 million
According to MSNBC and documents released by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, the Department of Homeland Security requested to transfer nearly $10 million out of the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and into that of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to fund the latter’s immigrant detention and deportation programs. Merkley believes the transfer happened this summer. “Just in time for hurricane season,” said Rachel Maddow. [MSNBC]

Maddow reported Trump admin took millions from FEMA for ICE detentions: “Senator Jeff Merkley talks with Rachel Maddow about a document showing that the Trump administration took nearly ten million dollars from FEMA’s budget ahead of the 2018 hurricane season and gave it to ICE to pay for detentions.”

By now you know that just when you think this administration could not get worse, the bottom appears beyond our ability to see it let alone land on it.

Rachel Maddow also reported last night that the administration is sucking lots more money out of the Coast Guard budget to give to ICE: Document shows DHS transferring $29M from Coast Guard to ICE.

Rachel Maddow reports on a DHS document from Senator Merkley that shows nearly $10 million dollars being transferred from FEMA’s budget to fund ICE detentions, and $29 million being taken from the Coast Guard, ahead of the 2018 hurricane season. Moira Whelan, a former DHS official, joins to discuss how FEMA budgets its money.

Why does ICE need more money for detention? Here’s a possible reason. Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever reported the New York Times yesterday.

Even though hundreds of children separated from their families after crossing the border have been released under court order, the overall number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded — a significant counternarrative to the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the number of undocumented families coming to the United States.

Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than fivefold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.

The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors, the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests. Some of those who work in the migrant shelter network say the bottleneck is straining both the children and the system that cares for them.

When Carolinians complain about FEMA, and you know they will, they can take solace from the knowledge that they are paying, via FEMA, for more facilities that keep families separated. And that’s a direct result of the Trump administration policy. Cruel.

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