$10 million of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds transferred to the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency were set to expire and never could have been used for disaster relief operations, a DHS official said in a Wednesday statement.
The funding was sent from the FEMA “operational account” and represented savings from expenses for “raining, basic purchase cards, office supplies, HQ overhead support,” the DHS official said.
The official continued, “This was money that was in savings and was going to expire at the end of this fiscal year on September 30th.”
The official stressed that the funding could not be used for disaster relief operations due to appropriations rules. DHS’s pushback follows a story pushed by Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley declaring that $10 million of FEMA money was diverted to ICE for detention operations.
Merkley, however, left out key context on the funding in a document he released and promoted on several TV networks.