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Mar 30, 2013 8:59 PM by Erika Flores

Rally against border protection cuts

TUCSON-U.S. Customs and Border Protection is taking steps to cut its budget because of sequestration.

CBP plans to furlough employees and reduce overtime and reduce pay for employees.

This all takes effect in April, and as the time approaches, border agents' families are rallying against the cuts.

Wives of border patrol agents are passionately speaking up.

They said AUO, or Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime, cuts would drastically affect their family and they want their voices to be heard.

Cutting AUO keeps agents from working more than their assigned hours during shift changes unless approved by a supervisor.

They are concerned this would cause agents to have to let drug traffickers or immigrants go at the end of their shift allowing them to get away.

"The activity of 'illegals' coming across is unbelievable," said Kelsey Berry.

Berry said although she fears for her husband's safety every day.

But she believes in the border patrol mission.

"You have such a pride in your husband," said Berry.

Upcoming furloughs and reduced overtime pay also has these women concerned about finances.

"Literally, we are getting ready to sell some of our furniture in order to make sure we're not going to miss our bills," said Maryan Moulds.

According to the United States Government Accountability Office, by the end of 2010, there were more than 40 thousand agents patrolling the border.

DHS invested more than 11.9 billion dollars.

Federal cuts are now forcing them to scale back.

And although the number of undocumented immigrants has dropped since its 12 million peak in 2007, these women say the border is not secure.

"Pick a spot miles away and just watch and just watch," said Moulds.

They're concerned the cuts will invite more illegal activity.
"There's going to be this mad dash for the border," said Berry.

CBP said in a statement "because the length of the sequestration is unknown, it is difficult to project the impact of the reductions on individual employees or job occupations with any degree of certainty."

This group just hopes legislators can fix the issue soon.

They're organizing a rally at the state capitol.
To join, email: johnsonbc1@yahoo.com

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