This makes me more enthusiastic about the sequester, just because now I’m curious to see how derelict he’s willing to be in his duties to in the name of putting political pressure on the GOP. Next up: Suspending TSA checkpoints at America’s airports, maybe? Where else is he going to find two percent savings in three-plus trillion in spending?
In a highly unusual move, federal immigration officials have released hundreds of detainees from immigration detention centers around the country in an effort to save money as automatic budget cuts loom in Washington, officials said…
The agency, Ms. Christensen added, “is continuing to prosecute their cases in immigration court and, when ordered, will seek their removal from the country.”
Officials did not reveal precisely how many detainees were released or where the releases took place, but immigrants’ advocates around the country have been reporting that hundreds of detainees were freed in numerous locations , including Hudson County, N.J.; Polk County, Texas; Broward County, Fla.; and New Orleans; and from centers in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and New York.\
What the folks at HotAir miss is that this is a win-win for Obama. He gets to say that we don’t need border security. If people don’t notice an immediate difference, he’ll be able to argue that border security isn’t important. Those in favor of sequestration as a means to get any cuts at all are going to find that’s the consequence of that argument.
After sequester Obama can say that the border will be secured when the funding comes back, and in the meantime he gets to release some undocumented Democrats to go vote for his party several times over.
Drudge has this for his headline pic:
Meanwhile via WaPo:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned Monday that her agency would be forced to furlough 5,000 border control agents under mandatory spending cuts, likely allowing more illegal immigrants into the country and potentially compromising national security.
Napolitano said the cuts, known as the sequester, would disrupt the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to conduct customs inspections at ports, leading to increased waiting times for travelers and cargo shipments. Disaster relief funding would be reduced by $1 billion, she added, meaning relief for victims of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and tornados in Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., could be cut.
At the borders, Napolitano said the department would have to scale back patrols between ports of entry in the southwest United States, after years of making progress in stopping people from entering the country illegally from Mexico.
Furlough for Border Patrol is primarily going to consist of rescinding what’s called administratively unscheduled overtime (AUO). The short version is that Border Patrol Agents basically work 10 hours every day to cover overlapping shifts and so they can continue working when there’s work – it’s the nature of the job.
It’s not standard overtime – agents don’t make “time-and-a-half”, it’s basically just a 10-hour standard workday. It’s set up so that if an agent is out chasing a group of illegals, he doesn’t just look at his watch and go “crap, shift’s over” and let bad guys he’s tracking go – and he doesn’t have to work to chase them down and do so without getting paid. There’s also FLSA, which is Fair Labor & Standards Act pay. AUO represents an increase over base pay of about 25%, and FLSA represents about another 5-7%, depending on the number of hours worked. FLSA exists so that workers can’t be forced or incentivized to work for more hours with less pay. After a 25% increase in hours – from 8 hour a day to 10 hours a day, from 40 per week to 50 per week – if an agent has to work 60 hours one week, AUO doesn’t pay anything additional. The agent is basically working for free – that’s where FLSA comes into play. It’s not a lot, but it’s some compensation for long hours. Then there’s also discussion of cutting one day per two weeks for field agents – resulting in working 9 of 10 days – another 10% reduction in pay.
Ultimately, USBP personnel and some associated agencies are looking at about 40% pay cuts.
When that average of 2 hours of work per day goes away, you have that much less coverage. When you cut down on hours, you cut coverage.
You also begin to hemorrhage good employees. Congress through DHS has made nationwide pushes for new employees, especially the Border Patrol. (They’ve also mandated certain numbers to be maintained.) This brings in people from across the country to work in new locations – ultimately many good, qualified people lured in for the pay. But the problem is that when you cut their pay by about 40%, you’re going to have employees leave. “Federal agent” looks good on a resume, and there are plenty of police departments and sheriff’s offices who will offer lower pay that suddenly looks more appealing when agents can increase their standards of living by moving back home.
Another issue that will develop is corruption – for people who are flexible in their morals, the good pay is an incentive to stay on the straight and narrow. With a 40% pay cut, those who were immunized to corruption by a good salary will suddenly find enticements by criminal enterprises that much more inviting.
All of this is no small part of what’s being targeted by Obama’s sequestration. He’s already pushing for amnesty, and now the rumors of reductions in Border Patrol coverage have led to greater alien traffic. Anyone who knows any Border Patrol Agents can ask them – they’ll tell you that traffic is up.
Reduction of coverage by Border Patrol, ICE, Customs, and other border control agencies ultimately do result in increased numbers of illegal aliens. A drastic reduction in pay will lead to more officers committing criminal acts, and lead to a loss of good personnel.
And all of this contributes to damage done to the nation. In the short-term, it can be used as a cudgel against political opponents. In the long-term, it’s ultimately destructive to the nation and fitting to someone with a firmly anti-American mindset who’s out to fundamentally transform the nation in order to make things “fair” on the world stage.
It is amazing how “discretionary” spending is paying for the fundamental functions of government – like military & border security, yet “mandatory” spending is paying for handouts to Democrat serf constituencies so they can keep getting their Obamaphones and EBT cards.
“Look, we’re doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester. But there’s only so much I can do,” Napolitano said. “I’m supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those? We want to maintain 22,000-some odd Border Patrol agents. I got to be able to pay their salaries.”
Bed space solved. With that money saved, pay agents.