“Government Shutdowns Affect Many”
After months of waiting for my application for a rapid border crossing permit to be processed and tentatively approved, the U.S. government finally allowed me to set an appointment with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for an interview and presentation of my documents.
Appointment set and confirmed. 48 hours before the scheduled face-to-face, an email arrived canceling the appointment. After 23 days of partial government shutdown, the shutdown affected me directly.
The cancellation does not affect my wallet as it does 800,000 government employees that are either furloughed or forced to work without pay, but it is maddening. I applied in June 2018 for the “Sentri” permit, it is now the middle of January 2019 and because I don’t have the permit I must suffer waits to cross the border into the U.S. of up to two hours.
Most egregiously, however, was the one day I by passed a mile-long pedestrian line into the U.S. with a huge cast on my arm, with my right hand swollen to almost twice its normal size. Three U.S. CBP officers, two men and a woman were stationed at the entry gate and allowed individuals to cross for inspection in twos and threes.
When I asked permission to bypass the long line the woman officer refused to allow me through despite my U.S. Passport in hand. I pleaded medical emergency and showed my swollen hand and giant cast; both male officers exclaimed surprise at the amount of swelling, but the woman officer said no, she didn’t allow cutting in line and that it wasn’t fair to the hundreds of people in line.
I said, baloney, not one person in line was saying anything. They weren’t blind, they could see I needed medical attention which was just ten minutes away.
She refused. I demanded to see a supervisor; she said no I wasn’t entitled to see a supervisor. I should go to the back of the line and spend two or three hours waiting like everyone else, she proclaimed.
I kept demanding to see a supervisor. One of the male officers walked away and came back with a supervisor. I explained the situation for the tenth time; he looked at my passport and ordered her to let me through. I thanked him and walked through for a quick interview and computer check then hailed a taxi and sped away to see the orthopedic surgeon. Three days later he operated on my broken arm.
While some government employees can be obstreperous and I relish the idea that they are suffering — most aren’t, most are just like the rest of us and deserve to be treated evenhandedly like we prefer to be treated.
The shutdown continues.
We Americans do not approve of the shutdown and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s approval ratings improve while that of President Trump are falling from its historic lows even further. Apparently, there is no movement towards settling the shutdown on either side.
That is shame full.
The issue boils down to the original White House budget request for this new budget year. The President requested $1.6 billion for “wall” work on the Mexican border. That amount was approved by the Senate in a voice vote and the vote was endorsed by the President.
After numerous complaints by conservative media people, President Trump withdrew his support of the passed Senate bill and demanded three times the approved amount for the “wall.” Funding ran out and we are where we are; shutdown.
The situation has evolved into a “Mexican Standoff” with no progress towards reopening all government departments.
As it happens, as suggested by the government e-mail canceling my appointment, I returned to the government website and reset my appointment.
Questions: will my new appointment with CBP officers be canceled by unpaid government employees? Will I be punished with more hour’s long waits at the busiest land border crossing in the world? Will millions of government employees and their families stumble through their everyday lives without pay checks?
Will the government shutdown continue for weeks, months or even as President Trump says, “years?”