The longest shutdown of the federal government in American history hit its 32nd day today, with no sign that President Trump will be ending it any time soon, prolonging the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of workers going without pay in the process. As the U.S. economy starts to take blow after blow from the shutdown, Trump insists on holding the entire government hostage as he begs for the Democrats to fund his wasteful, racist border wall.
The Democrats have maintained the course so far, refusing to cave to Trump’s infantile, bullying practices. They realize that if they reward this kind of behavior, it will incentivize Trump to repeat this approach whenever he doesn’t get what he wants, and our country cannot function under such precarious conditions. The Democrats should be commended for their resilience.
Now, another consequence of Trump’s shutdown has emerged. The FBI Agents Association — which, as it’s the name implies, is an organization that represents FBI Agents — has issued a stark warning that the shutdown has begun to negatively affect its agents and is hampering law enforcement efforts more broadly.
Minor costs are rapidly piling up with no means of paying for them, ranging from such simple things as buying prepaid phone cards to booking plane tickets to travel for ongoing operations and investigations. Things are getting so bad that indictments have been postponed and efforts to curtail crimes against children as well as terrorism are being undermined.
"The failure to fund the FBI undermines essential FBI operations, such as those designated to combat crimes against children, drug and gang crime, and terrorism."
— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
The new report allowed FBI agents to speak about the ongoing shutdown with anonymity and some of the responses are shocking. One agent said that they have lost “any ability to operate.” There also appears to be widespread fear that in its weakened state the FBI will not be able to respond to national security and criminal threats with the strength required to keep the country safe.
While some agents are continuing to work without receiving pay, these conditions are untenable in the long term. Many of these people have families to support and now find themselves torn between their responsibilities to provide for their children and their unwavering devotion to their country. Trump must call off this shutdown immediately and end this growing endangerment to those he swore to protect.