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Border Patrol budget would cut agents’ overtime pay

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Border Patrol budget would cut agents’ overtime pay

Border Patrol budget would cut agents’ overtime pay

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Under President Barack Obama’s proposed budget, the Department of Homeland Security would not change the current number of Border Patrol staff, but would change their pay rates.

The National Border Patrol Council, the union representing 17,000 agents, said the cut in overtime pay will reduce the average annual salary by $7,000.

“This isn’t a 9-to-5 job where we punch out at the end of the night and go home,” said Shawn Moran, a senior agent in San Diego and vice president of the union. “Our borders need to be protected 24 hours a day.”

Moran said if cuts must be made, officials should look to other splashier but less effective programs, such as drones.

“We don’t need UAVs that cost $20 million a pop. All the goodies are useless without the agents there,” Moran said.

Criticism doesn't come just from those concerned with illegal border crossings. The Texas Border Coalition, a group of border city mayors and other community leaders, said President Obama continues to overlook upgrades at the nation’s legal crossing points.

Monica Weisberg-Stewart heads up the coalition’s border security committee. “We have ports of entry that are antiquated, technology that’s not up to date and the funding that’s in his budget is going toward federal buildings, it’s not going anywhere near the ports of entry,” she said.

Weisberg-Stewart points to a recent governmental report concluding the ports need a $6 billion facelift and an additional 6,000 border inspectors. The Homeland Security budget calls for an additional 300 inspectors.