24,000 CBP officers will face furloughs, US Army will suspend tuition assistance


POSTED: Friday, March 8, 2013 - 11:10am

UPDATED: Friday, March 8, 2013 - 4:03pm

Sixty thousand Americans went home with some bad news today, as the effects of sequestration continue to ripple through the country.

Mandatory government-wide spending cuts are the reason why 24,000 US Customs and Border Protection agents who command ports of entry like this one, will be forced to take unpaid days off each week.

Local CBP spokesman Doug Mosier says things were already bad enough for bridge times, and now, things will get worse. He released the following statement:

"CBP reduced overtime this weekend at ports of entry around the country and effects are already visible. Lanes that would have previously been open due to overtime staffing were closed, further exacerbating wait times at airports."

Ricardo Chavira crosses into Juarez by foot every morning for work. He says since Monday, wait times have been more than an hour.

"There used to be 10, 12, 15 people checking papers. This morning, there were 4 only," said Chavira.

Sergio Vasquez used to be a frequent traveler but nowadays, he’d rather just stay home.

"The line, it's so long. So, I just prefer to come once a week, instead of two to three times a week like before," said Vasquez.

US Army soldiers who are going to school will soon feel the sequestration pinch as well. Starting tomorrow, the Army will suspend tuition assistance for soldiers.

Fort Bliss spokesman, Major Joe Buccino also sent us this statement:

"We went into this sequestration process with the understanding that tuition assistance may be reduced to preserve spending for units deploying to and currently in Afghanistan."

Our NewsChannel 9 viewers took to Facebook to share their thoughts.

Janette King said, "Shame! These men and women risk everything for us. Being an Army Veteran, I am very disappointed with this country. Shameful!"

"It's due to bipartisan cuts,” said Virginia Sandoval, “as in both parties made this mess. Not Obama."

Fort Bliss has not yet released the number of soldiers who will be affected by the tuition assistance suspension.

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