Federal law enforcement agencies that keep Americans safe are starting to feel the strain of the U.S. government shutdown, in its 21st day, with agents working for no pay and investigations delayed, law enforcement officials said.
Training events have been canceled and travel cut back, with President Donald Trump and Congress unable to end the partial shutdown affecting a quarter of the government in a funding standoff over Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“We still have a responsibility for going after those who might be using this time to flood the streets” with drugs, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) field agent told Reuters, asking not to be identified by name.
“For us, it’s even a more important time to try to target as much as we can. We still have a safety obligation to the public … with the limited resources,” the agent said.
Most employees at federal law enforcement agencies – from the FBI and DEA to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration – have kept working since Trump’s demands on the wall triggered the shutdown on Dec. 22.