WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials pushed back Wednesday against a Democratic senator’s claim that nearly $10 million from the government’s disaster relief agency was transferred to immigration enforcement.

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s claim, which came as a hurricane barreled toward the Carolinas, was quickly branded by Homeland Security as “a sorry attempt to push a false agenda.”

The Oregon senator said the administration took $9.8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “response and recovery” and put it in the coffers of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

He based his claim on a 39-page Department of Homeland Security report dated Aug. 31.

The claim sparked an emphatic denial from Homeland Security Department, which said the impact on FEMA’s response and recovery efforts was zero. The agency’s budget is more than $15 billion.

“Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from FEMA to immigration enforcement efforts,” DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said. “This is a sorry attempt to push a false agenda at a time when the administration is focused on assisting millions on the East Coast facing a catastrophic disaster.”

Homeland Security has the authority to move money around between its components, which include immigration agencies, disaster management, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Secret Service.