60,000 Border and Customs Agents Told to Take Furloughs

Friday, March 8, 2013
By Paul Martin

Furloughs bite for customs workers

By Mike M. Ahlers
CNN.com
Fri March 8, 2013

The U.S. government on Thursday notified 60,000 federal workers responsible for securing borders and facilitating trade that they will face furloughs due to government-wide spending cuts.

Customs and Border Protection said it expects furloughs and other austerity will cause delays at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports, and reduce the number of border patrol officers on duty at any one time.

David Aguilar, the agency’s deputy commissioner, said it must cut about $754 million by September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

It aims to reach that goal through agency-wide furloughs, a hiring freeze, and reducing or eliminating overtime, compensatory time, travel and training.

Other agencies are taking similar action due to spending cuts that took effect last week across the government, called sequestration.

Customs spokeswoman Jenny Burke said in a statement that the agency “continues to evaluate further impacts of sequestration” on its operations.

“Even with these cuts though, individuals apprehended illegally crossing the southwest border will still be processed as usual,” she said.

The agency said furloughs will begin in mid-April.

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