Arizona

Apr 1, 2013 9:29 PM by Erika Flores

CBP announces furloughs postponed, businesses still cautious

NOGALES - Customs and Border Protection announced Monday, it's holding off on cuts in light of the fiscal year 2013 Appropriations Bill and Sequestration.

Agents have already started cutting back on spending anticipating the worst, and border communities are afraid there will be a trickle down affect on their economy.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has postponed furloughs and the de-authorization of administratively uncontrollable overtime or AUO, but businesses along the border like Villa's market, they're still preparing for the worst.

Oscar Villa said he sees CBP agents in his shop every day.

"They come here for the rotisserie chicken leg quarters. We've got ribs and they buy some freshly made tortillas that we have here every day," said Villa.

A quick lunch to get them through their long days, but furloughs and overtime cuts could reduce agents' time in the field and the money in their pockets.

"If we had cutbacks I think Nogales would really be affected," said Villa.

And not just because businesses suspect agents would spend less.

"There's going to be less border patrol and customs working down there, so wait times are going to get longer," said Villa.

Business owners like Bruce Bracker are concerned that could deter Mexican shoppers.

"85 percent of my customers come from Northern Mexico," said Bracker.

According to the city of Nogales, around 17,000 Mexican nationals cross the border on a daily basis to shop in Nogales, Arizona.

Businesses also rely on trucks entering through the port of entry to deliver products to the stores.

CBP said they are re-evaluating the cuts.

This is their statement:

"In light of the Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations bill and sequestration impacts, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is re-evaluating previously planned furloughs and de-authorization of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) and will postpone implementation of both at this time. Although the budget reductions imposed by sequestration are significant, the bill's provisions allow CBP to mitigate to some degree the impacts of the reduced budget on operations and on CBP's workforce. CBP continues to assess the exact impact the legislation will have on our operations and our workforce."

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