A Porous Border
Lock your doors! Cuts to the Department of Homeland Security will reduce personnel guarding the border, Napolitano said yesterday. "I don't think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester compared to without sequester," She said. Specifically, she mentioned a "rollback in border patrol" agent time. "If you roll that back, you make [the area] between the ports of entry less secure than the record security that has been there in recent years," she said. On Tuesday, U.S. officials released hundreds of detainees on supervised leave from immigration detention centers across the country to save money ahead of the sequestration deadline -- a move some Republicans denounced as yet another scare tactic.
A Decimated Air Force
In a detailed rundown of cuts, the Air Force delivered an ominous presentation to Congress earlier this month. As The Air Force Times' Jeff Schogol reported, the presentation said "sequestration would cut about 203,000 flying hours [and] Civilians could be furloughed for 22 days, translating into a roughly 20 percent loss in bi-weekly pay for each furloughed civilian." In all, the report said that it would take six months to recover from the loss of readiness.
A Blow to Disaster Relief
Besides leaving the U.S. vulnerable to a terrorist attack -- a threat Napolitano outlined yesterday -- the Homeland Security secretary also said natural disaster preparedness would be compromised. "It will reduce the disaster relief fund by nearly $1 billion, potentially affecting survivors recovering from Hurricane Sandy, the tornadoes in places like Tuscaloosa and Joplin, and other major disasters across the country," she said. "Threats from terrorism and the need to respond and recover from natural disasters do not diminish because of budget cuts."
Indeed -- if U.S. officials are to be believed -- these threats are only going to increase.