Now we learn Homeland Security is about to cut 20% of its border patrol manpower.
The cuts, meant to close a $250 million shortfall due to “sequestration,” forced Border Patrol brass to make some tough choices. One option included putting agents on furlough two days a month — but agency administrators instead opted to eliminate overtime, according to Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council.
TAKE THAT AMERICA! How dare you allow congress to cut my spending!
"The border is not secure. It's safer than it has been in decades but it is by no means secure and it won't be if you cut 20 percent of your workforce," Moran said Wednesday.
"This is no longer about border security,” Moran added. “This has become a corporate mentality. They say it's about the mission but if it was we'd be out there securing the border. They’re worried about securing bottom line."
A Homeland Security Department spokesman took exception to Moran's remarks, calling them out of line and untrue. The department maintained the cuts were necessary to comply with automatic spending cuts — “the sequester.”
While the overtime cuts could be seen as inconsequential, agents insisted it’s actually quite a blow. In many border areas, agents don't actually live in the immediate border region. They drive from home to headquarters, which in Tucson is more than an hour from the border, about the same as in San Diego. For agents in Casa Grande, Arizona, the commute is closer to 2 hours.
For the agency, the drive time is treated as overtime, thus allowing line agents to put in a full eight-hour shift actually patrolling the border. However, effective April 7, agents will be forced to leave the border after a five- or six-hour shift in order to make it back under the mandated eight hours.
Agents said the down side will be that areas of the border will be left unprotected for hours at a time.
This folks is just another example of the Obama administration taking a 2% cut in federal spending and making sure it hurts. Remember even with the sequester these departments are spending more money this year than they did last.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn blasted the decision to cut border agents’ overtime pay, saying it’s the latest example of President Obama putting national security at risk.
“The Obama Administration’s actions amount to nothing short of a calculated, willful neglect of what should be a President’s top priority: Protecting the homeland and keeping Americans safe.”Unlike programs such as healthcare and college loans, protecting the Homeland IS a responsibility of the federal government. At times I wonder if our President understands that duty.