2013-03-15 / Letters

Danger At JFK

Dear Editor:

I am greatly concerned that Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a critical component in providing our nation’s security, will be one of the federal agencies hit hardest because of the failure of Congress to avoid the severe budget cuts called for under sequestration.

CBP has a dual vital Mission: One is frontline security at ports of entry, including JFK Airport. Should the Country live in fear of the possibility of a giant mushroom cloud because of the inability of Congress to resolve these issues? Does Congress remember that CBP at JFK Airport caught the Times Square Bomber? The sequestration has to be resolved. The other aspect of the Mission is facilitating the trade which is so important to our economy. Both will be compromised by sequestration.

Because of sequestration, CBP has said it likely will furlough employees for up to 14 days. Reducing an already-strained workforce will cause delays in the processing of passengers and commercial traffic, as well as increased risk of contraband, criminals and potential terrorists entering the country. Not to mention, the impact upon on the employees who are facing nearly three weeks of lost pay.

As President of National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 153, representing CBP employees in JFK Airport, I find it frustrating that federal employees are among the first to be hit by sequestration’s severe budget cuts despite having already contributed more to deficit reduction and economic recovery than any other group—$103 billion from a pay freeze and higher pension contributions. For the good of the country, sequestration should be cancelled and replaced by balanced deficit reduction measures.

JAMES RUOFF

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