The Trump Shutdown Is Undermining National Security And Law Enforcement

January 24, 2019
USA Today:  Security, Immigration Controls Fray As Impasse Over Trump's Wall Stretches Into Its Fourth Week. 
 
Washington Post:  ‘Unacceptable’: Coast Guard’s Top Officer Criticizes Lack Of Payment In Government Shutdown.
 
Axios:  Aviation Unions Say Level Of Air Safety Risk Is "Unprecedented.”
 
The Trump Shutdown is hurting America’s national security and undermining law enforcement, forcing key national security personnel at federal agencies ranging from the Coast Guard to TSA to work without pay, and putting tremendous strain on air travel safety.  In poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly oppose President Trump’s shutdown. It’s time for President Trump to stop holding the government hostage over his expensive and ineffective wall.
 
FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARIES HAVE WARNED THAT NOT PAYING DHS EMPLOYEES IS “UNCONSCIONABLE”

ABC News:  Not paying DHS employees is 'unconscionable,' former DHS secretaries say in letter to President Donald Trump, Congress.  “Former DHS secretaries Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, Janet Napolitano, Jeh Johnson and John Kelly, who is also the president's former chief of staff, signed the letter… The group said that the department risks losing talented men and women, but shouldn't rely on charity from others. They also pointed out that members of the Coast Guard, by law, cannot quit or seek full-time, outside employment. ‘This is unconscionable,’ they wrote.” [ABC News, 1/23/19]

COAST GUARD MEMBERS ARE GOING UNPAID BECAUSE OF THE TRUMP SHUTDOWN

NBC News:  42,000 Coast Guard members miss first paycheck due to government shutdown.  “The nation's 42,000 active-duty Coast Guard members missed their scheduled paycheck Tuesday, as the only military branch to work without pay during the government shutdown. Because the Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security, it is getting no funding during the shutdown. All other parts of the military are under the still-funded Department of Defense.” [NBC News, 1/15/19]

Washington Post:  ‘Unacceptable’: Coast Guard’s top officer criticizes lack of payment in government shutdown.  “Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant, said he is heartened by the outpouring of support Coast Guard personnel have received across the country but expects more. ‘Ultimately, I find it unacceptable that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members,’ he said, speaking on a video posted to his Twitter account.” [Washington Post, 1/22/19]

AIR TRAVEL SAFETY IS BEING UNDERMINED BY THE TRUMP SHUTDOWN

Axios:  Aviation unions say level of air safety risk is "unprecedented."  The presidents of three aviation unions — the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA — issued a statement Wednesday urging Congress and the White House to fund the government due to increasing risks to the air safety environment. ‘We have a growing concern for the safety and security of our members, our airlines, and the traveling public due to the government shutdown. This is already the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States and there is no end in sight. In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented.’” [Axios, 1/24/19]

CNN:  10% of TSA employees called out Sunday as shutdown continues.  “The Transportation Security Administration said one in 10 of its employees scheduled to work Sunday took the day off, with many employees citing ‘financial limitations’ preventing them from working. ‘Yesterday's complete figures show that TSA experienced a national rate of 10 percent of unscheduled absences compared to a 3.1 percent rate one year ago on the same day, Jan. 20, 2018,’ the TSA said in a statement Monday. ‘Many employees are reporting that they are not able to report to work due to financial limitations.’” [CNN, 1/21/19]

LAW ENFORCEMENT IS BEING STRETCHED THIN BECAUSE OF THE TRUMP SHUTDOWN

New York Times:  Report Says Shutdown Is Impeding F.B.I.’s Law Enforcement Efforts.  “As the partial government shutdown enters its fifth week, the funding freeze has impeded F.B.I. efforts to crack down on child trafficking, violent crime and terrorism, according to a report issued Tuesday by the group that represents the bureau’s 13,000 special agents.” [New York Times, 1/22/19]

Washington Post:  Shutdown threatens national security, FBI agents group warns.  “With the shutdown well into its third week, groups representing government employees ranging from those who patrol borders and guard courthouses to those who make undercover drug buys have expressed alarm that the political drama has reduced them to bargaining chips while they continue doing dangerous jobs that keep Americans safe.’” [Washington Post, 1/10/19]

Politico:  Shutdown's hidden impact: Frozen inspections, fraud cases.  “The 24-day-old shutdown is hobbling enforcement efforts throughout the federal government — halting power plant and oil well inspections, slowing financial fraud probes and tax audits, thwarting plane crash investigations and even delaying a probe into Facebook's privacy practices. Agencies have also canceled training for prosecutors who go after online child pornography and drug sales. The Justice Department has furloughed most of its administrative judges, who enforce immigration laws. And the Federal Communications Commission isn't responding to consumer complaints about robocalls.” [Politico, 1/18/19]

ON THE BORDER, FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ARE STRAINED BY THE TRUMP SHUTDOWN

USA Today:  Security, immigration controls fray as impasse over Trump's wall stretches into its fourth week.  “From the high seas and airport terminals to desert border crossings and immigration courtrooms, concerns about security and those responsible for maintaining it mounted. Illegal border crossings have plummeted since 2006 because of increased manpower at agencies such as the Coast Guard, TSA and Border Patrol. Success could turn to crisis in weeks if the shutdown continues and pay for those personnel is withheld, said Robert Pape, political science professor and director of the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats.” [USA Today, 1/17/19]

Texas Tribune:  Shutdown over wall straining Border Patrol agents working overtime without pay.  “But despite the feeling of normalcy, a current Department of Homeland Security agent who previously worked for the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection said the federal employees on the front line of the national immigration battle are beginning to feel the strains of the impasse. ‘Morale is definitely low [inside the department]. But I can’t imagine how it is at the bridge,’ said the agent, who spoke to The Texas Tribune on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak to reporters.” [Texas Tribune, 1/16/19]

FEDERAL PRISON WORKERS ARE STRAINED BY THE TRUMP SHUTDOWN

Washington Post:  Tensions rise in federal prisons during shutdown as weary guards go without pay and work double shifts.  “Even though these employees are supposed to work, union officials at 10 prisons reached by The Washington Post, including Lee, say the number of employees who are not showing up for work has at least doubled since the shutdown began. As a result, those showing up are routinely working double shifts, correctional officers and other prison staff members say. Secretaries, janitors and teachers are filling in for absent officers. At at least one prison — Hazelton Federal Correctional Complex in West Virginia — the number of assaults on officers has increased since the shutdown, according to a union official there.” [Washington Post, 1/10/19]

Minneapolis Star Tribune:  Shutdown places unique stresses on federal prison workers in Minnesota.  “Among the 5,500 Minnesotans affected are hundreds of Federal Bureau of Prisons employees who missed their first paycheck Friday. Union leaders say the families are being forced to hastily cut costs and, in some cases, choose between paying for groceries or medications. If the deadlock continues, the shutdown could drive out entry-level officers, many of whom make less than $20 an hour. Attrition at the federal penitentiaries in Sandstone, Rochester, Duluth and Waseca could be dangerous, since understaffing has already prompted mandatory overtime — an additional stressor for officers often required to pull double shifts on no notice.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1/18/19]

Raleigh News & Observer:  Shutdown forces Butner prison officers to work without paychecks.  “Correctional officers at the prison complex in Butner are among the federal employees who have been forced to work without pay during the partial government shutdown, and could soon join a lawsuit challenging the policy. They are among the workers and contractors starting to feel the effects of the budget impasse that has stretched on for three weeks.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 1/12/19]

CYBERSECURITY IS UNDER THREAT BECAUSE OF THE TRUMP SHUTDOWN

CNBC:  How the government shutdown is putting national cybersecurity at risk.  “Close to half of the employees within the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA — which works to help secure the nation’s critical infrastructure industries, such as banking, water, energy and nuclear — are furloughed. Eighty-five percent of the National Institute of Standards and Technology workers have been furloughed as well, and these are the employees who help private- and public-sector companies stay up to date on the latest cyberattacks and mitigation techniques. The shutdown is also contributing to an already stark brain drain of cybersecurity talent, creating new, possibly disgruntled insider threats and ushering in a huge backlog of unchecked and needed security updates.” [CNBC, 1/14/19]

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