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Friday, December 9, 2022

Here’s How the Government Shutdown Affects U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A majority of U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees must work during the government shutdown, as 54,935 employees of its 60,109 workforce are designated as exempt.

They’re part of up to 88,000 Department of Homeland Security employees who will work without pay during the shutdown, according to an impact statement released by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. That means that Border Patrol agents who are working to mitigate a crisis on the southern border with Mexico will not get paid until Congress and the White House can end the partial government shutdown over border-wall funding that began at midnight on Dec. 22. In the meantime, border operations at and around ports of entry continue to function.

The shutdown — the result of President Trump insisting on signing a bill with at least $5 billion for a border wall while the Senate legislation includes $1.3 billion for border security not including a concrete wall — comes during a “humanitarian crisis,” CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.

“That means there are 60,000 people crossing the border each month, each of the last three months. That’s 30,000 families, 5,000 kids per month,” McAleenan said.

Like many agencies that fall under the purview of DHS, CBP has also not updated its website since the shutdown began, and has not posted on social media.

CBP has an active law enforcement function, which justifies its essential nature and continued work for a majority of staff. Operations at ports of entry will also continue throughout the shutdown.

Among the CBP services impacted are the functions of the Advanced Training Center in Harper’s Ferry, W.Va. Between 150-300 law enforcement students who are housed locally had to be relocated to nearby hotels for the duration of the shutdown, according to a DHS directive released on Dec. 17. Additionally, hundreds of students at Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers locations around the country were relocated.

More on the Government Shutdown: 

James Cullum
Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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