My husband works for the U.S. Border Patrol, and because of sequestration he is facing up to a 40 percent drop in pay. This is not a number meant to scare the public. This is an honest number that will force many Border Patrol families to sell their homes and move. The impact will be felt throughout our community. What is worse, if they decide to reverse the sequestration at the end of March, it will be too late, and he still will not get his pay back.
Border Patrol agents all over the country are losing their administratively unavoidable overtime (AUO). AUO was put in place to make sure the border is being patrolled at all times so there are no lapse in coverage at shift change. The work of a Border Patrol agent is not a 9-5 job, where the agents can just punch out at the end of the day and be done. If there is work to be done at the end of a shift, they have to finish it. These cuts will result in fewer “boots on the ground.”
Agents also are facing 14 nonconsecutive furlough days. Starting in April, we will be going from 100-hour paychecks including 20 hours of overtime pay to 72-hour paychecks with no overtime pay.
I agree that our country’s budget needs cutting. But the cuts that are happening are not spread out evenly and are going to hurt more than 20,000 Border Patrol agents and their families.
I think our community needs to be aware of the repercussions from this unbalanced and unfair cut to our Border Patrol’s wages.
Dara Widner, Green Valley