‘Sequestration’ would weaken borders, lawmaker warns
October 24, 2012
More than 8,500 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement personnel face termination in January under the Obama administration's automatic spending cuts that take effect next year in a bid to attack the spiraling fiscal deficit.
The job losses, in the wake of massive efforts by the U.S. Border Patrol to significantly beef up security along the U.S.-Mexico border, would be the result of a "sequestration" in the federal budget, automatic spending cuts of 9.4 percent in 2013 for discretionary defense appropriations and 8.2 percent in 2013 for discretionary nondefense spending.
Rep. Norman D. Dicks, Washington Democrat, noted in an Oct. 9 "dear colleague" letter that if Congress and the president fail to reach agreement on a deficit-reduction plan, required budget cuts at the Department of Homeland Security would roll back what he called "significant progress" in securing the nation's borders.
In the letter, Mr. Dicks said the cuts will increase wait times at land ports of entry and airports, hurt aviation and maritime safety and security, leave critical infrastructure vulnerable to attacks, hamper disaster-response times, and eliminate cybersecurity infrastructure that has been developed in recent years.
Mr. Dicks warned that cuts in the Border Patrol could affect security along the southwestern border, where drug-related violence has become increasingly commonplace since Mexican drug cartels began to fight each other for control of lucrative smuggling routes into the U.S.