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Border agents' rep worries about retention during shutdown

PHOENIX -- A continued government shutdown could start a chain reaction of border agents leaving for other work.

Shawn Moran, vice president of with the National Border Patrol Council, which represents 17,000 agents and support staff, said many agents are struggling without a paycheck.

The federal government has been operating on a partial shutdown for two weeks. Border agents are still on the job, as are TSA employees.

He said the border patrol has never been aggressive about retention, and other law enforcement agencies capitalize on that.

"The Border Patrol has never been good about holding on to its people. Other agencies come in and recruit the agents because they're know for getting the job done. At some point you can only take so much and people go on and look for greener pastures.

"Our newer agents live paycheck to paycheck and can't afford a disruption like this. A lot of the agents are former military with families looking to start a career and shutdown without pay) doesn't make it any easier."

Moran said agents are also concerned whether their families will receive benefits if they're killed in the line of duty.

"I know Congress had to take action to help the military out. We're here fighting at home and if one of our agents dies in the line of duty we want to make sure the family is still taken care of. That is in the back of a lot of agents' minds and just one more thing to worry about with this job," Moran said.

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About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.


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