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Families at the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station on June 10 in McAllen, Texas. Photo: Office of Inspector General/Department of Homeland Security via Getty Images

The Trump administration is reallocating $271 million from the Department of Homeland Security's budget, which includes FEMA, "to pay for immigration detention space and temporary hearing locations for asylum-seekers" made to wait in Mexico, NBC reports.

The big picture, via Axios' Stef Kight: The number of immigrants arrested or turned away at the southern border had been steadily climbing to records not seen before, but has been falling for the last 2 months in a row. Prior to her resignation, former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the U.S. immigration system had "come to the point of a system-wide breakdown" in March.

By the numbers: This new $271 million in funding "would allow ICE to detain nearly 50,000 immigrants at one time," per NBC.

  • $155 million of ICE's new funding will come from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund, according to a letter sent to DHS by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.).
  • The other $116 million will come from funds earmarked for areas like Coast Guard operations and aviation security. It will finance almost 6,800 extra beds for detained immigrants.

Flashback: The Trump administration took $9.7 million out of FEMA's budget in 2018 to support ICE and help the agency fund more detention center beds and detain immigrants.

What they're saying: A FEMA spokesperson said that the transfer will leave $447 million in the Disaster Relief Fund, which a review determined "will be sufficient to support operational needs and will not impact ongoing long-term recovery efforts across the country."

  • FEMA added that the Disaster Relief Fund Majors account, "which provides funding for ongoing recovery efforts, including those supporting communities impacted by the 2017 disasters, has a current balance of approximately $27 billion and is not impacted by the reprogramming."

Go deeper ... Exclusive: DHS data shows growing surge of migrants at the border

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to include a statement from a FEMA spokesperson.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"