Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is currently holding more detainees than ever before, according to statistics reviewed by The Daily Beast.
The Beast reported Sunday that ICE has an average daily population of 44,631 people in custody.
That number is 4,000 higher than the totals for which Congress has allotted funding.
Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats say change to filibuster just a matter of time Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill MORE (D-Ore.) told The Beast that he demanded ICE account for where it had gotten the extra money to house 4,000 more detainees.
“It is incredibly important that ICE explain how they’re paying for nearly 4,000 more beds. In September, when I discovered that ICE had been reprogramming FEMA dollars to pay for immigrant detention centers, I wasn’t given the information from the administration. I wasn’t given the information as a member of the Senate appropriations committee,” Merkley said.
The record comes amid President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE's sharp crackdown on illegal immigration.
Last November, ICE held a daily average of 39,322, then surpassing the highest total during former President Obama’s eight years as president, the National Immigration Center reported.
Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) used nearly $100 million in funds from other agencies, most notably the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to help fund ICE’s record-setting detainee custody amid.
“The plain fact is that the administration never wanted anyone to know how they were planning to pay to execute their plan. They used a mechanism that was never intended to see the light of day,” Merkley told the Beast.