Budget cuts lead to lengthy queues at US immigration control

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Federal budget cuts in the US have caused lengthy queues at US airports because of a lack of immigration staff and it is likely that the problem will get worse over the busy summer months.

Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress have not been able to reach agreement over funding for the US's federal government and this has meant that many federal government departments have had to make cuts. Many federal staff have been having to work short hours and there has been disruption to many services.

Research by the UK's Independent newspaper has shown that passengers at Miami Airport in Florida regularly have to wait over three hours to clear border control. There are also lengthy waits averaging over 100 minutes at Orlando, also in Florida, at JF Kennedy airport in New York, San Francisco, California, Washington DC and at Houston and Dallas Fort Worth in Texas. No figures are available for Chicago Airport, which is the second busiest in the world.

'There are clear resourcing issues at immigration which have been getting worse'

27m people are expected to arrive at US airports this summer and this will, inevitably, make the problem even worse. A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic told The Independent ' At a number of US airports there are clear resourcing issues at immigration which in recent years have been getting worse….We are very concerned about this and have made our concerns known to the US authorities'.

The budget cuts have been caused by a failure of Democrats and Republicans to agree a new spending formula for the federal government. The US government has run up a massive budget deficit leading to an ever growing national debt. The deficit for the fiscal year 2013-14 is forecast to be $744bn with revenues of $3.034trillion being exceeded by expenditure of $3.778trillion.

There is very little bipartisan cooperation in Washington which means that a deal which will relieve pressure on the federal budget is unlikely.

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