Border patrol agents to face cuts due to sequester

(WXYZ) - Border patrol agents like Nathan LeGender risk their lives to protect our country and now they will be doing it for a lot less money.

"People come across anyway they can, boats, canoes, swimming, whatever to come across," said LeGender.

Next month, Nathan and all other agents will be taking a hit in their paycheck. While the number of agents isn't being reduced, their work hours will be.

Between mandated furlough days and a cut in work hours, some agents could see paychecks light by as much as 40 percent, and they are worried about how it could affect what they do in the field.

"This is going to hit us hard," said LeGender.

Agents say they are worried they will not be focused on officer safety, but rather on worrying about being able to feed their family and pay their mortgage.

The U.S. Border Patrol is just one agency forced to slash its operating budget as part of the "sequester"--the $85 billion reduction in the federal budget.

Nathan says they won't stop doing their job, but they believe the decisions made by politicians will have real-life consequences.

Agents will begin to notice the cuts in their paychecks starting April 7.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection released this statement about the cuts:

"In order to address the more than half a billion in budget cuts imposed by sequestration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection must take significant budget reduction actions. CBP will continue to make every effort to minimize the sequester's impact on public safety and national security, but expects that planned furlough of employees, along with reductions to overtime and hiring freeze will increase wait times at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports, and reduce staffing between land ports of entry. Even with these cuts though, individuals apprehended illegally crossing the southwest border will still be processed as usual.  CBP continues to evaluate further impacts of sequestration on our operations. Because the length of the sequestration as well as funding levels through the end of the fiscal year are unknown at this time, it is difficult to project the impact of the reductions on individual employees or job occupations."

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