EL PASO -- Looming furloughs of federal workers are expected to affect staffing at busy border crossings. Right now, officers inspect vehicles entering and leaving the country. But staffing shortages could put the brakes on some searches.
The Obama administration increased southbound border searches to hurt the drug cartels. But as a federal furlough looms, it will be up to each border field office to decide if the inspections continue.
Staffing is always a delicate balancing act. Every time an agent is posted searching cars going into Mexico, that’s one fewer agent or officer checking cars coming into the United States.
In the past year, agents in El Paso only found three guns bound for Mexico. In Laredo, it was 4. All along the southwest border, a total of 649 guns were confiscated, just a small fraction of the thousands of guns smuggled into Mexico.
A new study just released by the Trans-border Institute at the University of San Diego found evidence that 250,000 guns sold in the U.S. turned up in Mexico.