BRANDYWINE, Md. (ABC7) — Several times during the partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump has claimed that federal workers are on his side.
Now, we’re hearing from one of those workers.
“I’m very strongly behind it, yes,” Amanda Schimone said. “I just believe in what we are doing. I believe in the president’s policies and Secretary Nielsen’s policies, and supporting the border patrol agents.”
Schimone spent 26 years in the U.S. Air Force before retiring in 2012. Now, she works at the Department of Homeland Security’s federal law enforcement training center in Cheltenham, Maryland.
“We train all the federal agents, through all the different agencies. Not just DHS, but FBI, the state department, that kind of thing,” she said.
Despite the fact that’s she been furloughed since the shutdown began, Schimone says she supports the border wall on behalf of her colleagues who patrol the border every single day.
“If you had a tool that would help you do your job better and to be able to have border security – they’re my coworkers – I don’t know them personally, but if they say that’s what they need to do their job, than I support them 100 percent,” she said.
Schimone’s husband also works for the federal government, but is not impacted by the partial government shutdown. She says they’re relying on his income plus a pension she gets from the U.S. Air Force to pay their bills while her DHS paychecks are on hold.
“We’ve put away money, we have a financial planner, we’ve been really cognizant of doing that,” she said. “My credit card bills, they’re just getting the minimum payment right now.”
Still, she knows there are a lot of federal employees who are struggling financially as the shutdown drags on.
“I do have for empathy for them. I do understand that some people live paycheck to paycheck,” she said.
She also understands that a lot of people may not like her perspective on the government shutdown. And she says that’s okay.
“I don’t judge people,” she said. “They have a right to their opinion, and I have a right to mine.”
At the very least, she hopes people will listen to what she has to say.
“Do I like being furloughed? No. But I understand and I support them,” she said. “I realize America is where people really want to be, but I think there’s a right way to come into our country, and not illegally. And so that’s one of the reasons why I do support the border wall.”
She hopes the president and Congress can soon agree on funding for the wall, and get the government back open.
“Maybe negotiate the amount that President Trump wants or some type of other immigration policies, but it sure would be nice if they would try to work together,” she said. “No negotiations makes me feel like they don’t care about the Department of Homeland Security.”