Merkley's office maintains that operations and support funding does impact FEMA's overall disaster relief efforts.
"(It's) this pattern of misbehavior by ICE where they overspend the amount they have been given by Congress, specifically for immigration detention, and then they make it up by basically robbing other accounts in DHS", Small said. The U.S. Secret Service was also a beneficiary of the reallocation.
Merkley said the money is desperately needed in case the U.S.is hit as hard as it was a year ago by hurricanes.
"We have plenty of resources, both monetary, staff and commodities, to respond to the storm", Jeff Byard, FEMA's associate administrator for the Office and Response and Recovery, told reporters during a morning briefing as Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolina coast.
The transfers also came just as the "zero tolerance" immigration policy came into force.
It's interesting you say that because it turns out the money has been transferred not just from FEMA.More news: United States sanctions NKorean IT companies in China, Russia
"Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from @fema to immigration enforcement efforts", Houlton tweeted.
Without the transfer of funds, the document notes, 'ICE will not be able to fulfill its adult detention requirements in FY 2018'.
The administration says its top priority remains deporting criminals, but ICE and other immigration agencies are increasingly under fire for targeting immigrants with nocriminal records and for splitting up families at the border without a plan to reunite them. The document mentions Fiscal Year 2018 but doesn't include an exact date.
Merkley, a Democrat from OR, said on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" that the administration is taking money from "response and recovery" and "working hard to find funds for additional detention camps".
"This is all part of the child separation policy and that's how this information came into my hands because of my work on this issue of trying to stop the child separations", Sen.
But Merkley did concede that the transfer of funds was legal.More news: NHC downgrades Florence to still risky Category 3 hurricane
"Try to go to Puerto Rico right now and tell them right now that ten million dollars is a drop in the bucket", a Merkley aide said.
"ICE could also be forced to reduce its current interior enforcement operations, curtailing criminal alien and fugitive arrests - which would pose a significant risk to public safety and national security", the document reads.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported that claim on Tuesday and the story was picked up by many other left-wing media outlets as fact, even as a spokesman from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - the agency over FEMA - said the report was inaccurate.
After the devastation of last year's storms - the triple wallop of Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma - FEMA should have the funds it needs to be prepared for another disastrous hurricane season. They're allowed to transfer money between agencies but they're supposed to report such changes to Congress.
He added, "The money in question - transferred to ICE from FEMA's routine operating expenses - could not have been used for hurricane response due to appropriation limitations". FEMA's annual budget is estimated to be $15 billion.
Katie Waldman, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, said the proposed $1 billion increase mirrors the agency's $8.2 billion budget request for fiscal 2019. "Everybody is ready", Trump said in brief remarks at Joint Base Andrews.More news: Browns finally reach end of rope, will cut Josh Gordon
New data show that almost 3,000 people died as a result of the hurricane and many people continue to live without power on the island.