Former immigration officials: Sequester means more smugglers, fewer business deals / The Washington Post

Posted by Suzy Khimm on February 27, 2013 at 2:59 pm

David Martin was principal deputy general counsel for Obama’s Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2010 and served as general counsel to the Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Clinton administration. He’s currently a professor of international law at the University of Virginia. 

Suzy Khimm: Where will the sequester cuts be felt in terms of border security and immigration enforcement, and how long will it take for them to have a significant impact?

David Martin: I think the places where they’ll be felt earliest and most graphically will be at the ports of entry. It will mean lots longer lines as people are coming into the country, and that’s a sensitive point for [international] business leaders.

For border patrol, it will have an impact but it will be less immediately felt and noticed. It will set back some of the headway we’ve made in terms of reducing attempts to come into the U.S. The lower flow [of border-crossers] has had a huge impact. And it’s made it more possible to think of comprehensive immigration reform.

Could you talk a little more about why sequestration’s impact on the ports of entry makes a difference?

It will have an impact on international business and deals that are made. If they have bad experiences over a period of time — they can deal with it for a couple of weeks, but it will make certain business transactions harder to carry out. People will start avoiding traveling to ports with lengthy periods of wait time, and the business community in that location is going to feel it — they will feel it pretty early.

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