Ann Arbor, MI -- Security at book retail giant Borders has received a boon from the federal government this week amid calls by President Bush to further strengthen Borders nationwide. At a press conference last week, President Bush announced that he had signed an executive order to double the number of Border Patrol troops at Borders around the country, but he stated that he would like the Border Patrol to focus on "liberal-hippy urban" areas.
Staff and customers at an Ann Arbor area Borders were surprised to find Border Patrol agents securing the entrance to their store Friday. "I had heard that they would be securing the Borders, but I kind of thought this Borders would be a low priority," stated store manager Mike Johnston, who was unable to leave the store despite working two double shifts.
Border Patrol Agent David Torres disagreed with Johnston, proclaiming the Borders in Ann Arbor to be a top priority for the national security of the nation. "We've had several reports from local law enforcement of unsecured Borders in and around Ann Arbor," stated Torres, referring to local officials who have seen people moving in and out of Borders with relative ease. Torres worries that any breach of security at Borders will encourage others to enter or exit the stores.
Store customers appeared put-off by the tight security. Frequent Borders shopper Tom Wright decried, "I expect armed guards when I go to the embassy or to an airport, but Borders?" Other customers expressed their concerns that the troop levels and resources could be utilized better elsewhere. Wanda Hurt, an avid reader, told reporters, ‘I had a way easier time getting out of Barnes and Nobles last week. Why doesn't the Border Patrol go there?"
While the high troop levels at the store has hurt profits, it has also damaged employee morale. Tony Reese, a part-time employee at the Borders store for the last three years, expressed anger that he had to get a "guest worker" permit in order to be allowed into the store for his shift. Other workers report having to undergo body cavity searches and show passports to enter and leave the store.