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Flight attendant union predicts longer lines if DHS diverts TSA funds to border
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) on Wednesday warned of long security lines at airports if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) diverts funds from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to the border.
"Moving $232 million from TSA's already-stretched budget sets the stage for reduced check points and long security lines," the union said in a statement. "Reduced staffing at checkpoints isn't just an inconvenience - when TSA is stretched thin, it increases the risk of a serious security breach."
"Flight Attendants often bear the brunt of frustrated travelers, making our workspace more volatile. Long lines also threaten air travel ticket sales and on-time operations," it added.
"The proposed cuts will be felt this summer and in years to come," the AFA continued. "They will delay purchase of advanced screening equipment and other mission-critical investments designed to keep travelers safe and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of security, as well as undermine programs to support TSA workers and keep them on the job."
The DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the AFA's statement.
The agency is reportedly considering moving funding from its components, including the TSA and Federal Emergency Management Administration, to the border if Congress does not approve the $1.1 billion the agency asked for.
President Trump earlier this month asked Congress for $4.5 billion in funding to address a spike in undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S., including the $1.1 billion for "border operations."
Those operations include "personnel expenses, additional detention beds, and operations combating human smuggling and trafficking," according to the White House.
Customs and Border Protection officials detained 109,144 migrants at the southern border last month, the highest number in more than a decade.
The American Federation of Government Employees TSA Council last week issued a similar statement about the effect of diverting funding on TSA operations.
"On behalf of the 44,000 Transportation Security Officers AFGE represents, I urge TSA to reconsider its decision to strip away these important security roles from our airports. TSA officers are already severely understaffed," said Hydrick Thomas, the council's president.
"Removing our aviation security counterparts from airports and placing them at the border could undermine our nation's aviation security," Thomas added.