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Friday, March 08, 2013

60,000 Border and Customs Agents Furloughed

As many as 11 million illegal immigrants are in the United States, about seven million of whom are working — primarily in low-skill jobs. However, roughly 20 million Americans are without jobs, including several million Americans with few job skills, according to news reports.

by Todd Beamon, NewsMax: Sixty-thousand federal employees responsible for securing the nation’s borders and facilitating trade will be furloughed for as many as 14 days starting next month because of $85 billion in cross-government spending cuts.

The federal government notified the workers on Thursday, CNN reports. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the furloughs and other austerity measures would cause delays at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports, and would reduce the number of border patrol officers on duty at any one time, CNN reports.

David Aguilar, the agency's deputy commissioner, said it must cut about $754 million by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The agency plans to institute furloughs throughout its departments, a hiring freeze — and to reduce or eliminate overtime, compensatory time, travel and training. Other federal agencies are following similar steps because of the spending cuts that took effect on March 1 through sequestration.

Customs “continues to evaluate further impacts of sequestration” on its operations, an agency spokeswoman, Jenny Burke, said in a statement reported by CNN. “Even with these cuts, though, individuals apprehended illegally crossing the southwest border will still be processed as usual,” Burke said.

The Customs furloughs will begin in mid-April, with reductions in border patrol overtime starting on April 7, Burke said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Monday that she expects customs wait times to increase to 150 to 200 percent of normal, CNN said. "I don't mean to scare, I mean to inform,” Napolitano said. “If you're traveling, get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would. There's only so much we can do with personnel.” . . .

Late last month, Napolitano and other Obama administration officials came under fire — particularly from officials in Arizona — for the release of hundreds of illegal immigrants held in local jails to save money as the sequester neared. . . . [Read Full Story]

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