TUCSON, Ariz. -- Sequester cuts that began Friday threaten to reduce Border Patrol staffing, but the agency’s union says that just days before the cuts, Border Patrol managers were quietly given raises.
The Border Patrol’s Local 2544 in Tucson released an internal memo for Custom and Border Protection managers. The memo said 12 agents in charge of certain Border Patrol stations — some in California and Texas, others not on the Mexican border, in Washington, Michigan, or New York — will receive an increase in rank and pay. The memo was dated four days before the sequester began.
That would mean about a $17,000 increase in annual pay. The memo said the raises given met one of the objectives of the agency's 2012-2016 Strategic Plan and were given to prospective agency leaders.
Border Patrol Tucson Union Chief Art del Cueto criticized the timing of the raises.
“It’s an obvious slap in the face, obviously, to the agents' point of view. You’re going to furlough them. Take away their money, take away their hours. But the guys sitting in whatever station up north, really not doing anything. Those people are getting a raise," del Cueto said.
Border Patrol agents are facing 14 furlough days a year under the sequester plan. But that doesn’t include cuts to overtime.
Customs and Border Protection officials in Washington did not respond to interview requests for this story.
EDITOR'S NOTE (3/4/2013): Read the CBP response issued March 4.