Active duty Coast Guard personnel would be required to work without pay in the event of a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security. Coast Guard photo
Active duty Coast Guard personnel would be required to work without pay in the event of a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security. Coast Guard photo

If the Department of Homeland Security shuts down Friday night, most of the thousands of Coast Guard, Border Patrol and TSA agents in San Diego would continue to work — without pay.

An estimated 5,000 Homeland Security personnel in San Diego would be required to show up for work, but wouldn’t receive their bi-weekly paychecks.

The commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Paul Zukunft, put the situation bluntly: “If our appropriations lapse, Coast Guard men and women standing watch globally will not be paid.”

A shutdown is looking increasingly likely because Republicans in Congress are keeping funding of the department hostage in an effort to overturn President Obama’s executive orders on immigration.

Homeland Security spokesman Marsha Catron said that while 15 percent of the department’s employees would be furloughed, “the vast majority of our personnel” would continue to work without pay.

“Failing to fund the Department of Homeland Security would erode employee morale and cause unnecessary anxiety for frontline personnel and their families,” Catron said.

To mitigate the hardship of working without pay, Navy Federal Credit Union said Wednesday it is prepared to cover the paychecks of Homeland Security personnel who are members.

While most Homeland Security personnel would continue to work, the furlough of some 30,000 would halt many activities, including training of new hires, grants to state and local governments, and the E-Verify system that employers use to avoid hiring undocumented aliens.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.