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Border Patrol Furloughs ‘Critical Members,’ Offers Counseling to Employees

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Pres. Trump, and Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan at a Feb. 2018 event to promote Trump's border security proposals.


(Image: Photo by Andrew Herrer / Getty Images.)

The government shutdown has caused Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to furlough employees “critical” to the agency, according to an internal CBP document obtained by TYT. The email also tells agents stationed outside the U.S. they are ineligible for state assistance unless they return.

“For those critical members of our team who are temporarily furloughed, your contributions are missed greatly,” the document states. “The current shutdown presents significant challenges and uncertainty for all of us.”

The document, an internal email, was provided to TYT by a CBP employee who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.

President Trump has argued that the government shutdown is justified due to the national security threat he claims undocumented migrants pose. The shutdown is now in its 34th day, the longest in U.S. history.

The email, sent to employees on behalf of CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, also advised employees who “experience financial difficulty” to “work with your financial institutions, as many are offering no-interest loans” to employees affected by the shutdown.

CBP Press Secretary Corry Schiermeyer did not respond to a request for comment from TYT. An auto-reply from Schiermeyer’s email cited the “current federal funding hiatus.”

The email also reminds employees of the “up to 12 free confidential counseling sessions to help manage stress” provided by CBP’s Employee Assistance Program.

An internal CBP email addresses resources available to furloughed employees.

(Image: Photo provided to TYT.)

Attached to the email is a document containing information on how to apply for state unemployment benefits.

“If you are eligible, you will be paid by a State employment security agency under the provisions of its unemployment insurance (UI) law. The amount of your regular weekly benefits and the period for which benefits will be paid will generally be determined by the law of the State in which you had your last Official Duty Station.”

“If your last duty station was outside the United States, you will not be eligible until you return to the United States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands.”

CBP has locations all over Puerto Rico,. The agency sent employees to the country to assist with the recovery effort following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee also provided TYT with internal documents to illustrate the ubiquity of discussion about financial assistance among federal workers. The employee, who requested anonymity in order to avoid reprisal, showed TYT a list of half a dozen emails they received on January 22 alone, pertaining to various forms of financial assistance.

Screengrab of inbox of TSA employee displaying agency emails regarding financial assistance.

(Image: Photo provided to TYT.)

One of the emails contained an offer for a loan of up to $1,200 at 1% annual interest for air transportation workers.

Ken Klippenstein is a senior investigative reporter for TYT. He can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or via email: [email protected].

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