The ongoing government shutdown has affected federal employees in different ways, depending on their position. Those deemed “non-essential” have been furloughed, while others, including soldiers, continue to perform their duties and receive a paycheck.
One group, however, has been ordered to continue working without getting paid. According to National Border Patrol Union Vice President Shawn Moran, the agents tasked with protecting our borders are essentially working for free as the shutdown drags on.
“We continue to do the job, no matter what,” he said, saying that agents “feel like a political football.”
Moran noted that while many agents are concerned about providing for their families, those responsible for the stalemate are unaffected.
This is not the first time border agents have received short shrift under the Obama regime. As National Border Patrol Council Local 1929 Vice President Stuart Harris noted, the agency was hit with a two-week furlough, and pay was nearly cut in half during sequestration earlier this year.
He said that agents are “extremely frustrated,” noting that as a result of such treatment, “the morale of our agents is probably the worst it’s ever been.”
Harris indicates that those affected are already considering taking drastic measures — such as securing loans to pay for necessities — as a way to survive the shutdown. Even pursuing unemployment might not be possible, he noted, since certain states “require being furloughed for a minimum amount of time before one can file for those benefits.”
Not only are agents themselves suffering; Moran said that the work they do has also taken a hit. Training courses have been cancelled, he explained, and “prosecutions have been greatly curtailed.”
While the border patrol is considered essential, working for free and without proper training will only make agents more ineffective and disgruntled. This eventuality likely resonates with Barack Obama, who is an unabashed supporter of a porous border.
Meanwhile, the American people are less safe, further in debt, and less free than ever before. The transformation Obama promised as a candidate in 2008 continues to take shape.
–Western Journalism staff writer
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