WASHINGTON — Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano warned of increased lines at border entry points and reduction in the nation's security if the mandatory cuts known as the sequester take effect.
"I don't think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester compared to without sequester," Napolitano told reporters at the White House Monday. "We're going to do everything to mitigate that threat, but the sequester makes that awfully, awfully tough."
She said hundreds of border patrol officers may be furloughed, lines may double at some of the nation's busiest airports and cruise terminals, and that immigration detention centers may be forced to limit the number of detainees.
Napolitano is the second Cabinet Secretary to speak out about devastating impact on travelers as part of the cuts, following Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday.
"[With the cuts] we are having real impacts on the robustness of our defensive posture," she said. "There are things that we will not be able to do as well — like secure between the ports of entry on the land border."
Responding to Republican attacks that the administration is employing scare tactics to press Congress to avert the cuts, saying she isn't exaggerating the effects.
"I'm not here to scare people – I'm here to inform," she said.