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Tough times ahead for border patrol agents

By: Melissa Gundersen

EL PASO, Texas -- Border patrol agents and their families are scrambling to figure out how to survive without a paycheck.

Border patrol agents will not get paid until the government's partial shutdown is lifted.

Cassandra Brown is married to a border patrol agent. While she makes her own income, she said losing her spouse's income is rough. They're already starting to make major cutbacks.

"We're celebrating our two year anniversary tomorrow, so we were going to take a short vacation on Saturday. I'm not going to be able to do that anymore," said Brown

The sacrifices don't end there.

"We just bought our first house and it doesn't have heating, so were not going to be able to purchase a new heating and cooling unit," said Brown.

When talking to Brown about the cutbacks her and her husband are making, she got choked up. She said if the shutdown continues into November, her family will run into deep financial problems.

"We're going to have to look at financial support from local credit unions that are giving low interest rates loans," said Brown.

People working for Customs and Border Protection are in the same boat, they too are working without pay.

"I can't think of a more foolish way to run a federal government than the way that it's being run today," Congressman Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke said people who patrol the border are essential and must work. Until the shutdown is lifted, however, agents should expect a paycheck.

There is one piece of good news though.

"Saturday, we partially corrected that by passing a bill that ensures if you're working or furloughed you will be paid back for the time that you worked and the time that you were sent home," said O'Rourke.

That bill has been passed by the House. It still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by the president. O'Rourke said he's confident that will happen.

 

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