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Why a shutdown over a wall may actually harm border security

We’ve posted a lot recently about the partial government shutdown currently in effect—and its impacts on immigration-related services. But it’s also worth noting that the president’s shutdown may be working against the very issue he’s attempting to address.

The situation

The shutdown originally began due to the president’s demands for $5.7bn to build a wall dividing Mexico and the U.S. When democrats refused to provide this funding, the president shut down the majority of federal government services.

The federal employees who have continued to work—without pay—during this time are those deemed “essential” to national security. These include members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Financial implications

The average American lives paycheck to paycheck—without even $400 saved up for a rainy day. For most people, going a month without pay is enough to ruin them financially. Entrusting critical national security issues to a group of people who must contend with the prospect of severe debt—or even homelessness—is a recipe for disaster.

Security implications

As a recent study out of the University of Madison-Wisconsin found, employees with serious financial stress in their personal lives are far more distracted on the job—and more likely to make mistakes. When your job is to fight terrorists or drug lords, one mistake can be extremely costly—for yourself and your country.

The president claims to want to bolster national security. But forcing a government shutdown to get a wall is counterproductive. For those concerned about border security, the shutdown may actually be doing more harm than good.

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