Border safety at risk with cuts, says Homeland Security boss
February 25th, 2013
02:31 PM ET
2 years 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. Guest

    The parade of departmental idiots continues. Were they enforcing the law anyway? Not even close, so you should be able to absorb cuts. By the way, stop trying to buy up guns and ammo to push the leftie agenda!

    February 25, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Can the right wing create any more political and economic chaos? IT's like they all have Romnesia.

    February 25, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Republicans/Tea Partiers are always shouting about securing our borders from those dangerous aliens to the South. But yet they are willing to jeopardize those same borders to protect the wealth of the 1% wealthiest Americans.

    February 25, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Obama Sequester - Obama's idea, his Senate Democrats voted for it, Obama signed it into law, Obama said he would veto changes to it, OBAMA OWNS IT

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! WHAT border security??!!!

    Why don't you just layoff all the ICE agents since you have instructed them not to do their job and arrest illegals under age 30?

    Is anybody counting all of these lunatic things coming out of the Obama adminstration? All because they are being asked NOT TO INCREASE their spending as much as they had planned to increase their spending? Seriously people, these are not even real cuts! They are reductions in the rate of GROWTH!

    If any American is without doubt that Obama and the Democrats are out to wreck this country, this whole exercise should remove that doubt. If it doesn't, you are an avowed koolaide drinking leftist worthy of living in Havanna.

    February 25, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Blame the gop do nothing party, they have not done a thing for five years except to obstruct president Obama from his very first day as president ,the gop is less than useless, prepare to be unemployed after 2014 mid terms ,any gop left will be powerless and won't matter and we then can move forwards instead of backwards with the gop third world agenda .

    February 25, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. rs

    Like that matters to the GOP/? The country is at war and they are filibustering the nominee Secretary of Defense. Nothing matters to the GOP- just chaos.

    February 25, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. much thunder.little rain

    i am sure there are some usless programs that should be cut ..not this one....courage is not use much in washington...will someone lead ...there is no one insight...

    February 25, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Homeland Security has grown so over the past decade that it is almost a second Department of Defense. It has a budget of well over $100 billion annually, and is comprised of over 40 sub-agencies. Half of its' budget goes to some 500 contractors with contracts worth in excess of $100 million apiece annually.

    February 25, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Guest

    Smoke and mirrors! If you're dumb enough to believe it, you voted democrat. Oblabla wants to double-dip on the taxpayers – already has his tax increase but now, and not surprisingly, wants more for spending on illegal aliens, bogus gun control and to finance the soon to be failed ACA. Way to go dumbocrats!

    February 25, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Ind.

    Democrats will cut off their mothers head if it will make a difference. The fear mongering by the left is pathetic.

    February 25, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Obama Sequester – Obama's idea, his Senate Democrats voted for it, Obama signed it into law, Obama said he would veto changes to it, OBAMA OWNS IT
    -------------------------
    Did you ever take Civics in the 5th grade? All revenue bills must originate in the House.

    You overlook the most fundamental facts. House Republicans wrote the bill. Over 75% of House Republicans voted FOR the bill, with most of the objectors like Rand Paul demanding deeper cuts. And Boehener bragged about "no compromise" and that he got 98% of what he wanted past an Obama veto, mainly because it was too late to vote on anything else.

    February 25, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. b

    Ha, everyone knows this is Obama's way to scare everyone. I believe the whitehouse would delibertly allow a terrorist attack so they could say it was the republican fault. this admin is so corrupt, its probably their plan all along.

    February 25, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Ind.

    Obama crying wolf over a 2.3% cut is extremely laughable at best.

    February 25, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. Ind.

    Obama wanted the military cuts as everyone knows yet it will put thousands out of their jobs. I'm sure the democrats are happy with that.

    February 25, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Tony

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA (your other name is too long):

    It does not matter what you say. Republicans own the sequester. They will continue to own sequester. Republicans own fiscal crises. They will continue to own fiscal crises. The public will blame Republicans no matter what they do. Or don't do. There is nothing Republicans can do about it.

    Obama cannot increase spending. Congress controls all spending.

    Republicans have no choice. They can choose to lose, or they can choose to lose badly.

    February 25, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. critical thinking

    what a frigin joke, the whole world is coming apart because we need to $85 billion from a $3.6 trillion dollar annual budget? That 2.3%. If we can't take that kind of reduction, we are truely doomed. Thanks President Obama for cutting the deficit in half, what a friggin joke this President is.

    February 25, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Wake up People!

    @b. I think the GOP would deliberately cause a terrorist attack just to make the POTUS look bad. Actually the only terrorists we need to be wary of are members of the GOP. Showing everyday how unpatriotic they really are.

    February 25, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Democrats will cut off their mothers head if it will make a difference. The fear mongering by the left is pathetic."

    I'm sorry, but we couldn't hear you over the incredibly loud deliberations taking place in all those "death panels."

    Grow up.

    February 25, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "what a frigin joke, the whole world is coming apart because we need to $85 billion from a $3.6 trillion dollar annual budget? That 2.3%. If we can't take that kind of reduction, we are truely doomed. Thanks President Obama for cutting the deficit in half, what a friggin joke this President is."

    Spoken like someone who got the GOP/teatroll memo over the weekend that said the following:

    "Our attempt to blame Obama for the sequester and make it sound like the apocalypse has failed. Please change all your posts on Monday to argue that the sequester is no big deal, totally meaningless and will have no effect on the economy."

    February 25, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Can the right wing create any more political and economic chaos? "

    Yes. Just wait until they ressurect their plan to screw with the electoral college and then go hog wild with redistrcting after the conservatives on the SCOTUS give states like TX the green light to suppress and dilute minority votes.

    Can you say riots? I can.

    February 25, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    If anyone wants to know the impact of austerity during an extended economic slow down, just ask the British. They're going through their third mini-recession since 2008 while the US has not. The British conservatives enacted the types of draconian spending cuts that the right wing wants to do here. Their result has been a weaker, more fragile economy while the US has not made draconian cuts and has suffered no double dips.

    February 25, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Ind.

    Democrats are obviously ignorant of their own shortcomings. This sequester is proof of that.

    February 25, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. 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.

    February 25, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "The parade of departmental idiots continues. Were they enforcing the law anyway? Not even close"

    Yeah, more border patrol and tech on the border than at any time in our country's history, setting a new record for deportations EVERY SINGLE YEAR and reducing the net illegal immigration in this country to ZERO for the first time in decades is "not even close" to enforcing the country's immigration laws. Why are you guys such rank cowards. Jsut come out and say what you mean: "OMG THE COUNTRY IS TURNING BROWN AND THEY DON'T VOTE FOR MY TEAM BECUASE WE"VE BEEN SCREWING THEM AND ACTING RACIST FOR 60+ YEARS!!!! WAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!"

    February 25, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Ind.

    "I'd feel sorry for democrats if they weren't so stupid" ~JG

    February 25, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
1 2