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Opinion: Automatic Budget Cuts Would Hamper Progress on Immigration Reform

Opinion
The Bakersfield Californian 

The prospect for real bipartisan progress on immigration reform may take a serious hit if sequestration, the automatic cuts scheduled for March 1, take place.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano informed the Senate Appropriations Committee last week the cuts will result in a workforce-hours reduction equivalent to 5,000 Border Patrol agents, or about 25 percent of the workforce. That kind of reduction will almost surely impact current efforts and future plans to secure the U.S. border with Mexico, which happens to be one of the key components of the immigration reform proposal forwarded by a bipartisan panel of senators last month. In fact, those senators are demanding that the border be secure before proceeding with opening paths to U.S. citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. In other words, no matter which side of the immigration debate you’re on, you can’t be happy with that kind of hit to the Border Patrol.

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