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Sequestration cuts slash Border Patrol paychecks, spouses hold rally

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Sequestration cuts slash Border Patrol paychecks, spouses hold rally

CREATED Mar 30, 2013

Reporter: Cory Marshall

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Imagine doing the exact same job but having your salary slashed almost in half. That is what is happening to thousands of Southern Arizona U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and their families.

Between furlough days and the end of overtime, families could be facing a 40 percent pay cut.

Saturday, during a rally in Sierra Vista, Border Patrol spouses spoke out, slamming sequestration.

"I just think it's ridiculous that the government's going to cut 40 percent of someone's life. It's my life," Sierra Vista resident Chelsia Wilhelmsen said. Her husband is a border patrol agent.

"What about those people that are still unemployed and here we are talking about a budget cut?," Nine On Your Side's Cory Marshall asked Border Patrol Spouse's Unite organizer, Connie Johnson. 

"Well, here is the thing. If I don't have my budget to spend, there's not going to be another job to open up," Johnson replied.

Johnson says sequestration will not only cut income but, it will also cut confidence in border security.  Those are two things she and other border patrol families say they are not willing to fork over.

Congressman Ron Barber agrees. He's backing border agents, promising to reverse sequestration cuts. However, that promise is going to have to pull through soon as cuts are set to start next week. 

Some agents are already seeing a cut to overtime. According to a statement from the United States Border Patrol, overtime reduction for all CBP employees starts April 7, while mandatory furlough days will begin mid-April.