President Bush has signed into law legislation that lifts the cap on how much overtime pay U.S. Border Patrol agents and other immigration authorities can receive. The law was signed as part of the expanding effort to protect the country against terrorism.
We applaud that action. It directly affects the Imperial Valley since it is a border community that depends on the security provided by federal agencies such as the Border Patrol, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Customs Service.
We know about the added strain placed on federal authorities in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States. Agents whose job it has been to guard the border — preventing the smuggling of drugs and people and preventing deaths brought about by illegal immigration — have found themselves with a new duty.
They are the first lines of defense against any terrorists attempting to enter the country. They are a critical part of the country's effort to stop terrorism. That means they are going to be putting in longer hours.