Border safety at risk with cuts, says Homeland Security boss
February 25th, 2013
02:31 PM ET
1 year ago

Border safety at risk with cuts, says Homeland Security boss

(CNN) – The nation's safety will suffer a hit if massive forced spending cuts are allowed to take effect, the federal government's top security chief warned Monday.

Speaking at the White House, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said points of entry into the United States would become more vulnerable should staffing reductions become necessary to slash her agency's budget.

"I don't think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester as without sequester," she said, using Washington verbiage to describe the $85 billion in forced cuts that will take effect starting Friday unless Congress and the White House can agree on a deal to reduce the federal deficit.

The effects on her department will include mandatory furloughs and reductions in overtime pay for border patrol agents, along with staffing cutbacks for airport security personnel. Like Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday, Napolitano warned of long waits at airports when the cuts begin at the end of the week.

Napolitano couldn't name for sure how much the Department of Homeland Security would be forced to slash from its budgets, saying the number was continually being updated. But she warned the threats the nation faces February 28 won't disappear on March 1.

"Threats from terrorism and the need to respond and recover from national disasters do not diminish because of budget cuts," she said.

Napolitano's appearance Monday continued the White House's effort to lay out in austere terms what the effects of the forced spending cuts will be should they transpire. Neither the administration nor Congressional Republicans have expressed optimism that a deal is imminent on avoiding the cuts.

LaHood, speaking in the same spot as Napolitano, warned Friday of airport delays up to ninety minutes as a result of staffing reductions for air traffic controllers. And on Sunday, the White House released fact sheets for all fifty states and the District of Columbia detailing how the cuts would impact localities.

The effort has been met with skepticism from some Republicans, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who said after a meeting with President Barack Obama Monday that "the president needs to stop campaigning, stop trying to scare the American people, stop trying to scare states."

Jindal and other governors are in Washington for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

Napolitano argued her intent wasn't to frighten Americans.

"I'm not here to scare people," she said. "I'm here to inform and also to let people begin to plan, because they're going to see these impacts in their daily lives and they're going to have to adjust and make their arrangements accordingly."


Filed under: Budget • Janet Napolitano
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. DENNA

    LOL. So the GOP is willing to leave the almightly, porous borders open just to screw with President Obama? Shudder, just imagine how manyof THOSE people will slip over into our country. Oh well, no matter. At lease the GOP will have given President Obama a slap in the face and that is what's really important, right?

    February 25, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. me

    now we know where the left learned to act like little children from their leadership and I use the word "leadership" very loosely

    February 25, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Penobscot11

    Could it be worse than it already is?

    Scare tactics...

    February 25, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    That's a laugh..........HLS is doing nothing about the dangers on the border........as we all just heard from Governor Brewer!

    February 25, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    Hot dammit Sniffit, I think I heard those same words out of Hannity's mouth or was it O'Reilly yesterday??

    February 25, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. DENNA

    @Rick McDaniel – That's a laugh..........HLS is doing nothing about the dangers on the border........as we all just heard from Governor Brewer!
    ...........................................................................................................................................................................................
    "Governor" Brewer is a nagging old harpy as well as disrespectful of the President. If she says there is danger at the borders, I would seriously check the veracity of her statement.

    February 25, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. critical thinking

    Here is a solution, take food stamps away from the illegal immigrants and use that money for border control to keep more from coming over the border.

    February 25, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    critical thinking

    Sniffit, the WH has now ceded that they initiated the trigger device known as sequester. What an idiot you are to believe the dribble that comes out of this President's mouth. You are a true idiot.
    ------------------------------–
    If the sequester is such a bad thing, then why did the Republicans buy into it hook, line and sinker. Boehner even bragged about it being 98% of what he wanted. More than 3/4 of the bamboozled House Republicans voted FOR the sequester. So on that note, who looks like the idiots now?

    February 25, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. McRCN

    Since when is HLS concerned about our borders. Obama is not deporting folks anymore anyway.

    February 25, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Scott

    Take money from welfare programs to pay for security. Welfare has got to be stopped. Tax payers are tired of paying for people to have countless kids, get drunk all day, use illegal drugs, commit crimes, and be an anchor preventing an educated intelligent society to advance.

    February 25, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Pete

    Rudy,so right these arrogent republican posters the ones that rant stupidly about government when they obviously don't know squat!! It's republican led congress that voted sucessfully for the sequester and no the president doesn't own it he just knows that you ignorent republicans now have the rope around your necks and we're waiting for you to jump,that simple morons!!So you posters,you the ones that have reps with single digit approval ratings,the republican ones that are about to lose jobs after midterms don't think we didn't warn your sorry asses,we did numerous times because no matter what we told you your reps the ones you idolize knew better didn't they!!

    February 25, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. critical thinking

    If the sequester is such a bad thing, then why did the Republicans buy into it hook, line and sinker. Boehner even bragged about it being 98% of what he wanted. More than 3/4 of the bamboozled House Republicans voted FOR the sequester. So on that note, who looks like the idiots now?

    ----------------------------–

    The Republicans made a big mistake, they trusted the President of the United States. They thought he had the best interest of the country at heart and they and 51% of the voting public are wrong.

    February 25, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Wilson

    Politics at its finest. Scare tactics for today's uninformed voter. The ones whose only news sources are john stewart and stephen colbert.

    February 25, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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