(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—“AFGE applauds President Bush and DHS Secretary Ridge for their ongoing efforts to strengthen the layers of defense in the United States,” said AFGE National President John Gage following Ridge’s press conference this afternoon.
“However, crosstraining immigration, customs and agriculture inspectors is equivalent to crosstraining dentists, optometrists and podiatrists—they’re related, but very different.
“Consolidating three border inspections functions removes important layers of defense while adding months of additional training for each function.
“We represent these employees in very trying times and to be notified at the last minute of major change is not in the best interests of our employees. This has obviously been in the works for sometime and we were disappointed that we heard this through the media.
“Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary of Department Homeland Security, did contact AFGE during Ridge’s news conference today and we welcome the opportunity to be involved in the DHS decision-making process in the future,” added Gage.