Fresno Air Traffic controllers on the job without pay

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Those monitoring the skies are being affected by the battle over building a wall on the ground.

Air traffic controllers across the United States have been on the job, working without pay for two weeks.

Fifty work in the tower at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Jerry O'Gorman is a controller and a union representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. He says concerns about pay are just beginning.

"Since we haven't missed a paycheck yet we are doing okay, but as of next week we are going to have to start thinking about what the next step is."

The last day of the pay period is looming, so worries will likely start to mount. President Trump, improbably, says the shutdown could last for years, over his demand for $5.6 billion for a border wall to keep out illegal immigrants. But as immigration attorney Camille Cook of Fresno notes, the shutdown has also shut down federal immigration operations and stalled immigration hearings.

"The judges are also not ordering anybody deported. Nobody's winning, nobody's losing because nothing is going forward and nobody knows when it will be."

Cook says it means those who make it to the border to seek asylum are actually getting released, without any certain date for an immigration hearing.

"People are still presenting themselves at the border, people are still coming in, people are still afraid to go home but those cases are not going to be able to get a date in immigration court even in a year or two. "

Making the border perhaps, less secure, but O'Gorman says the skies will remain safe.

"Safety is our job, it's what we take pride in, it's never going to be compromised. It does make it more difficult though with outside pressures looming over our head."
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