Congressman Cuellar released the following statement on Sequestration Impact to CBP
Washington, March 14, 2013
“Last week I voted against the continuing resolution that reinforces sequestration and keeps additional cuts in place. Based on current guidance, the sequestration order requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to make $512 million in reductions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, which includes a 5% reduction in salaries and expenses funding.
These arbitrary cuts to federal funding negatively affect our national security by allowing continued staffing minimums for CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine officers at the same level as FY 2012. Any increase in wait times at the borders will have a direct impact on our Nation’s economy. The State of Texas shares the longest stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border and will feel the sharpest sting from CBP cuts. I continue to stand with the men and women who provide border security and work so hard to protect our nation.”
Additional facts on sequestration impact to CBP:
· CBP employees will be furloughed no more than 14 non-consecutive work days or 112 hours for each employee, beginning on April 21, 2013 and lasting through September 30, 2013;
· Border Patrol agents would be mandated to be furloughed one day per pay period, which equates to a 10% cut in Border Patrol agents’ basic pay;
Administratively Uncontrolled Overtime (AUO)
· On April 7, 2013, CBP will begin de-authorization of Administratively Uncontrolled Overtime (AUO) for all CBP personnel receiving AUO;
· This includes 22,064 Border Patrol agents, of which 1,848 agents are assigned to the Laredo Sector;
· The reduction in pay, coupled with furloughs, would mean that Border Patrol agents would face an approximate 40% loss in pay;
· The furloughs and de-authorization of AUO caused by the sequester will impact the Border Patrol’s ability to patrol the 1,014 miles of border in South Texas on a 24-hour basis. An estimated 171,000 man hours of Border Patrol operations (49,000 from furlough and 122,000 from AUO) will be lost every two weeks in South Texas, an average of 12,000 hours per day.
· CBP will also take actions in a number of other areas, to include reductions in travel and training, home-to-work vehicle use, fleet fuel and maintenance costs, and implementing hiring freeze;
· Critical national security equipment and operations, such as Air and Marine interdiction operations will suffer reduction of flight hours (1,900 for P-3 and 18,800 for all other aircraft).
Land Border Wait Times
· Cuts enforced by sequester will create lane closures and increased wait times at the Ports of Entries (POE) , including the nation’s largest land POE for trade in Laredo, Texas.
· A study commissioned by the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration found that border wait times at the five busiest southern border POEs (Otay Mesa, Nogales, El Paso, Laredo and Hidalgo) result in an average economic output loss of $116 million per minute of delay;
· This study states that in 2008, delays cost the U.S. economy 26,000 jobs and $6 billion in output;
· In addition to the impact on trade and travel caused at the POEs, the loss of income by Border Patrol agents across South Texas, approximately $6.18M every two weeks, will be less money entering the South Texas economy and the loss of hours will equate less manpower at Border Patrol checkpoints resulting in lane closures and longer wait times.