Approximately 4,165 border agents were unvaccinated as of last week ahead of the Nov. 22 COVID-19 federal vaccine mandate deadline, according to a document obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Nov. 14 document provided by an anonymous government source showed that around 16,500 border agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were fully vaccinated. Of the unvaccinated agents, 3,365 were seeking exemptions and 800 had no exemption requests.
Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council Chris Cabrera told the DCNF that the worst penalty for agents choosing to remain unvaccinated without approved exemptions could mean removal from the job.
A senior border patrol agent earlier told the DCNF that lesser penalties could include “verbal counseling” and 14 days without pay before removal.
REMINDER🚨: The deadline for federal workers to be fully vaccinated is November 22. 📅
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) November 17, 2021
Some agents, however, Cabrera said, are choosing to retire early rather than comply with the mandate.
“A lot of guys have an 8 year, a 10 year window, and instead of waiting either halfway or all the way, they’re just pulling the trigger right away and jumping ship and getting out of the patrol because of this,” Cabrera said.
“And a lot of folks are leaving the agency and they’re not even gonna deal with this so it’s gonna be interesting to see how this shakes out,” he added.