Senators Question Gang of Eight's Immigration Reform Plans

Understandably, over the last few months Border Patrol employees have been absorbed in preparing for austere pay/work-cuts stemming from the dual banes of the sequester and CBP's egregious mismanagement of funds. However, during this same period another political effort has been moving forward that would arguably have as much impact to the Border Patrol and America's future. Specifically, there has been much forward movement with a Senate initiated "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" package.

NBPC President to Testify in Front of Congress

On April 12 at 9AM Eastern, Thomas Winkowski will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security regarding, "The Impact of Sequestration on Homeland Security: Scare Tactics or Possible Threat?"

NBPC President Brandon Judd will also testify at this hearing.

You should be able to view the hearing on C-SPAN or at house.gov or c-span.org.

New drone radar reveals Border Patrol 'gotaways' in high numbers

The Center for Investigative Reporting has put together an article that discusses the testing of a new program involving drones that showed what all of us already know: gotaways are incredibly underreported.

From the article:

Between October and December, records show, the remotely operated aircraft detected 7,333 border crossers during its Arizona missions. Border Patrol agents, however, reported 410 apprehensions during that time, according to an internal agency report. The sensor was credited with providing surveillance that led to 52 arrests and 15,135 pounds of seized marijuana.

The Republican-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last year sought similar data from the Homeland Security Department as part of an investigation into allegations that officials had released "false and misleading border crossing data" that understated the volume of gotaways, according to a letter sent to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

In a response to the committee's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher denied the accusation, writing, "Any suggestion that USBP data collection methods were altered in order to enhance overall border statistics is patently inaccurate."

Click here to read the entire article.

20% AUO Rumor

Local 2366 leadership has just been updated by Del Rio Sector management of developments affecting employee pay. As you have likely heard through multiple sources, the Agency intends to forgo the furlough and AUO de-certification as proposed last month and instead plans to try to implement a mandate that AUO eligible employees average no more than 9 hours of overtime per work week. This attempt would allow the Agency to compensate employees at a 20 percent AUO rate as indicated by earlier communications and rumor.

While this arrangement is far superior to the 40 percent reduction in pay originally proposed by CBP to accommodate their mismanagement of Agency funds, it may still amount to a 10 percent pay cut for many agents who were maintaining a 100 hour per pay-period average. However, management simply cannot assign an arbitrary percentage of AUO for agents to max out at - you earn a percentage of AUO based on the hours you work. It's as simple as that.

We don't feel it is necessary to point out that attempted cuts such as this would have been aggressively challenged a few months back. It is only in the shadow of the original sequester plan that this seems "reasonable." The fear of AUO de-certification and a 14-day furlough must not temper our disgust at what is unarguably an unfair application of work and pay. With the new AUO restrictions comes numerous questions which DHS and CBP have failed to answer. Is CBP's budget really so bad as to necessitate any pay reduction for Border Patrol agents working in the field? What monetary sacrifices are the SES and non-agent positions who maneuvered us into this fiscal predicament making? Are our brothers and sisters in OFO now experiencing changes in pay to contribute to their portion of the supposed salary shortage?

While the furlough was problematic, especially in light of an additional 30 percent reduction in pay, at least it was equally applied between all offices and positions within the Agency. But, like the initial disparate proposals to cut overtime, DHS and CBP upper management appear to have their hearts set on placing the entirety of the financial burdens, legitimate or fabricated, on the backs of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Update from Winkowski

This was just announced to CBP employees on the intranet:

Updated Information on FY 2013 Budget
(04/01/2013)

To the men and women of CBP:

As you are aware, President Obama last week signed into law an appropriations bill that funded CBP for this fiscal year. I have been working closely with our budget office in analyzing the bill. Although the budget reductions imposed by sequestration are significant, the bill’s provisions allow CBP to mitigate to some degree the impacts of the reduced budget on operations and on CBP’s workforce.

Furloughs and AUO De-Authorization Postponed

The Union has been officially notified by CBP that they are re-evaluating the furloughs and de-authorization of AUO and they will postpone the implementation of both pending a re-examination of the budget from the appropriations bill signed by President Obama last week.

No, this is not an April Fool's prank. As soon as we get more information, we'll post it.

11:51 am, Update: NBPC has announced that CBP will be releasing a memo later today. We will post it as soon as it's available.

Senator Cornyn Responds to DHS Plan to Remove CBP Agents from Border

Senator John Cornyn made a statement in response to a news story that was broadcast on Fox News yesterday morning. His statement reads as follows:

"The Obama Administration's actions amount to nothing short of a calculated, willful neglect of what should be a President's top priority: protecting the homeland and keeping Americans safe."

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