The Homeland Security Department has alerted Congress it will shift hundreds of millions of dollars in order to boost its ability to hold and quickly deport illegal immigrants — drawing a rebuke from Democrats who said the money is being cut from critical needs like disaster relief.
The request was made last month, but the extent of the move was revealed in a letter from Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee panel that oversees homeland security spending.
Ms. Roybal-Allard, California Democrat, said the department was defying the will of Congress in moving nearly $280 million.
Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said he wants $101.4 million in additional money for detention beds and $14.6 million for transportation and deportation costs at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
And he notified Congress he’s moving $155 million to expand the Migration Protection Protocol, the so-called “return-to-Mexico” program the Trump administration is using to have some asylum-seekers wait outside the U.S. while their cases proceed in U.S. immigration courts. The $155 million would expand courtroom hearing space to speed up those MPP cases.