- Posted March 7, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
A Matter of Grave Importance
I wanted to write you to bring to your attention a matter that I believe is of great importance to our country. This matter, to date has not seen much attention from the media and what has been talked about has been misinformation.
The issue is the massive pay cuts Border Patrol Agents are facing now that Sequestration has been enacted. However, before I go into the financial and mental hardships that Border Patrol Agents are facing, let me tell you a little about what we do.
We are beyond a doubt the first line of defense for this country. It is a popular misconception that the military is responsible for guarding our borders, when in reality it is the United States Border Patrol.
Most importantly, we safeguard the citizens of this country by apprehending people who want to skirt the immigration system. In other words, we prevent terrorists, criminals, and people with contagious diseases from entering our country illegally. Moreover, the word terrorist in the minds of most Americans involve those who wish to do us physical harm, but in reality the word terrorist also includes those who cause economic harm. Whether intentional or not, the illegal immigrants we have sworn to protect our country from are in fact economic terrorist; taking jobs away from United States citizens while simultaneously making tax payers cover the cost of things such as hospital bills. In fact, the United States Border Patrol allocates an outrageous amount of funding to cover hospital bills for the injuries illegal aliens receive when entering the United States. That being said, how can one say illegal immigrants, in general, are not terrorists?
We live and work in some of the worst, most desolate and dangerous areas in the country. The terrain that we have to navigate is arduous. We are exposed to the elements (temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and the indigenous wildlife (rattle snakes, mountain lions and wild pigs). We never know what we may encounter while in pursuit of fugitives. It is not uncommon for us to traverse in excess of twenty miles on foot while trying to apprehend fugitives. We have to navigate through brush, creeks, rivers, hills and mountains both during the day and night. The Mexican Cartels place bounties on our heads. With that being said, we must constantly be cognizant of our surroundings and remain vigilant while both on duty and off duty. Suffice it to say we put our lives in harm’s way every day of the week. Protecting our countries borders and the citizens that we serve is a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week, 365 days a year responsibility. We have to work on the weekends, holidays and during all hours of the day and night.
This is what will be happening to the Border Patrols payroll now that the Sequestration has been enacted:
1. On or about April 6, 2013 all Border Patrol Agents will be decertified from receiving Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) and FLSA. Due to the nature of our work Border Patrol Agents work roughly two to four hours of AUO daily. This decertification means a thirty percent cut in our pay (AUO equals twenty-five percent and FLSA five percent).
2. The agency will be placing all Agents on a one day furlough per pay period. This furlough means a ten percent cut to our base pay.
3. With both of the above measures taking place Border Patrol Agents are going to have to endure roughly a forty percent pay cut.
The above measures will have a catastrophic effect on Border Patrol Agents as it would on anyone regardless of salary that has to endure a forty percent pay cut. We already work in a high stress environment and by adding financial stress to the job, I fear that more agents will be susceptible to injury and life threatening situations.
In addition, and perhaps the most important consequence of sequestration will be the threat to our national security via the termination of AUO. Effective on or about April 6, 2013 United States Border Patrol Agents are prohibited from working overtime. Furthermore, they may not work off the clock under any circumstances, regardless of whom or what they are in pursuit of or in the middle of apprehending. This means that at the end of our shift, we must immediately stop what we are doing and return to our duty station. To put it plainly, here is what will happen: if an agent is in the process of apprehending a fugitive at the end of their scheduled shift, no matter what the threat level, we have to stop pursuit. We will be instructed to alert the on-coming shift as to the last known location of the foot sign (commonly known as foot prints) via GPS coordinates. The current standard operating procedure for being relieved is as follows: agents on the ground remain in pursuit of the fugitives until they are actually physically relieved by the on-coming shift. This allows there to be minimal down time in pursuits and consequently is why we are paid AUO.
Decertifying agents from receiving AUO and insisting that we stop what we are doing at the end of our shift puts the national security of this country in serious jeopardy. Let me explain, it is a common misconception that the majority of those entering the country illegally are, “good, hard working people with families looking for employment”. With all due respect to the fraction of those for whom that statement might apply, I can assure you that arrest records do not lie. In fact, in the area of Texas that I patrol the vast majority of those that we apprehend, fingerprint and process already have previous criminal history here in the United States. The only way that is possible is because they have already been here, in the United States, to commit these crimes (such as economic terrorism, terrorism, robbery, rape, multiple DUI, murder and a variety of sex offenses). Many of those we apprehend are also repeat offenders with multiple arrests for illegal crossings due to our already lax borders.
I have not even mentioned the thousands of people whom Immigrations and Customs Enforcement recently released that fall into the above categories. Or, the thousands more that they are still planning to release into the public. The additional bad element that will be introduced into society will effect just about everyone. Local law enforcement will be tasked with having to manage the increased number of criminals at large. The average citizen will also be exposed to a greater threat of crime, personal and public safety.
What others might see as simply a “pay cut” is in fact, a much larger threat: to our agents, to our citizens and to our national security. The ripple effect will have a tremendous impact that will be far reaching. Illegal immigration, human trafficking, weapons smuggling, currency smuggling and drug smuggling will increase with a reduction of man power on the borders. The Mexican Cartels are very cognizant of what our operational capabilities are and they will exploit the reduction of man power to their advantage. In fact, we are already experiencing an increase in illegal activity on the border as word of the pending cuts to man power travel through Mexico, Central America and South America.
Last week when President Obama addressed the country he stated that the Border Patrol is looking at facing a ten percent pay cut. As you can see from what I have laid out for you that is the furthest thing from the truth. I am hoping that this letter will bring to light the hardships that our nation and the United States Border Patrol will be facing.