It’s Official: Furloughs at Customs and Border Protection Postponed

LM Otero/AP file photo

Customs and Border Protection is postponing all furloughs and is not eliminating overtime for now, an agency spokeswoman told Government Executive on Monday.

While CBP had originally planned to furlough all 60,000 members of its workforce due to across-the-board spending cuts from sequestration, the agency gained flexibility from the stopgap spending bill President Obama signed last week.

In addition to 14 furlough days, CBP workers had faced the elimination of “administratively uncontrollable overtime,” which union officials have called the “bread and butter” for customs officers and Border Patrol agents. For now, the employees will not face any reduction in hours, overtime or otherwise.

CBP said it “continues to assess the exact impact” the continuing resolution will have on the agency.

“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,” the agency spokeswoman said.

The National Border Patrol Council -- a union representing U.S. Border Patrol employees -- called for continued public pressure on CBP.

“The National Border Patrol Council sees this as a result of the public outcry to secure this nation's borders and to fairly compensate Border Patrol agents,” NBPC wrote in a letter to its members. “While the situation appears better for Border Patrol agents, we have seen CBP subvert the intent of Congress before. There can be no let-up in the pressure on CBP.”

CBP planned to issue a memo to all employees explaining the postponement Monday afternoon, union officials said.

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