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On Friday, February 22, 2013, members of Del Rio Border Patrol Council Local 2366 and Big Bend Sector Local 2509 met with Congressman Pete Gallego, the representative for the 23rd District of Texas, to discuss the forthcoming impact of sequestration and its effect on agency operations and employee pay.
Local 2366 would like to thank Congressman Gallego, Del Rio City Councilman Rowland Garza, and Congressman Gallego’s staff for setting up this meeting at such short notice. We look forward to meeting with them again to continue to advance the interests of our employees, and keep America’s borders secure.
The cuts outlined in the February 19, 2013, letter from Labor Management Director Donald Stakes was explained to Congressman Gallego in terms of the impact to the Border Patrol employees. The potential 40 percent cut to employee pay seemed to surprise Congressman Gallego and his staff who admitted that while they had expected that the pay cuts would be substantial, they were not aware that the effect to Border Patrol Agents would be so catastrophic. Local 2366 made it clear that these cuts would potentially lead to bankruptcy for some employees and retard economic growth across the region. Congressman Gallego stated that he was adamantly against the sequestration cuts and intends to work towards some solution in the House of Representatives to avert the impending 754 million dollar reduction that Customs and Border Protection will be making over the next eight months.
Congressman Gallego used an interesting metaphor to explain his understanding of how a problem such as this should be dealt with versus the manner in which some politicians have been treating it. Congressman Gallego stated that his home of Alpine, Texas, is familiar with frequent, large brush fires. The congressman expressed that he has learned that when dealing with a fire, it is important to control it and put it out before it can spread further. Only once it is extinguished should a person begin investing time in determining who started it. Local 2366 feels that the analogy is irrefutable. Too many politicians are taking the opportunity to spin the self-made calamity into a platform to use against their opponents rather than attempt to put out the fire. To run with the analogy, one could say that it is our political leaders who have been gathering the tinder and wood for the fire, and soaking the logs in gasoline since sequestration was planned in July 2011. It is now up to them to determine if they will throw a match on it, how far and for how long they will let the fire burn.