Washington Secrets

Customs to tired travelers: 'Call your congressman'

By |
Politics,Transportation,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Customs and Border Protection agents at Washington Dulles International Airport told a shocked line of Americans returning from overseas trips Friday night to complain to their congressmen and senators eafter the three agents handling U.S. citizens were abruptly sent home in a sequester bid to avoid paying overtime.

"Yes," said one agent, jutting his arm in the air as the clock struck 9 p.m. and he and two others were ordered to clock out. "Tell your congressman," Secrets witnessed the agent saying.

The agent said that Customs had cut their overtime. "They just shut down the whole American section," he said as a long line of confused citizens looked on. Nearby agents processing visitors from China were not pulled off the job.

While Congress and the president have moved to lift spending restrictions on air traffic controllers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which handles international arrivals, and the Transportation Security Administration, which handles domestic security, have been hit by the sequester.

It's so bad that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has issued an internet warning to airport users. "Certain support systems staffed by federal agencies are being impacted by staffing changes as a result of sequestration. We are working closely with federal agencies to assess specific impacts on federal services so we can continue providing the best available guidance to customers of Reagan National and Dulles International," said the airports authority.

After the three Dulles agents were relieved, the line of Americans eventually shifted to another part of the international arrival area where other agents stamped their passports.

View article comments Leave a comment