Effects of sequestration on Texas, and the border specifically, are becoming real this week in the aftermath of the sequester-mandated budget cuts that affected many areas of government.
In Texas, specifically, this means that federal workers within the Department of Homeland Security face furloughs, cut overtime hours and even job losses.
Texas Congressman Pete Gallego’s district 23 runs 800 miles from El Paso to Eagle Pass and consequently he’s been releasing infographics detailing the effects sequester cuts on the border, as well as the state this week.
“Sequestration is one of the biggest threats to border security,” Gallego said this week as the cuts loomed.
In a video address this week Gallego told his constituents that the border could be “less secure as hours are cut for the agents that keep us safe.”
Another side effect of these budget cuts would be longer wait times to cross into the U.S. from Mexico. According to Gallego’s office wait times could be as long as five hours, not only impeding tourism, but affecting trade as well.
Gallego commented that it was odd that Congress — which until recently was discussing immigration reform in purely enforcement and border security terms — seemed unperturbed by the border security effects of sequestration. Given the obsession with a secure border, and the fact that sequestration will have a negative impact on that safety, he called it “ironic” that Congress wasn’t doing more to avert the cuts.
According to Gallego’s office the following cuts will be implemented as a result of sequestration:
- Border Patrol agents could be furloughed for up to 14 days
- Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol will have to immediately cut $754 million from their combined budgets
- 1,734 Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees could lose their jobs
Gallego’s office said that, in light of sequestration, his local offices in Texas would be working to educate constituents about the effects of the cuts. Spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña noted that within District 23 these cuts represent jobs, agriculture and literally the economies of entire cities.
One of the congressman’s goals is to learn more about how the sequester is affecting people in his district. To see the infographics visit the congressman’s Facebook page.