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U.S.-bound travellers advised to leave extra time as gov't shutdown enters 18th day

Last Updated Jan 8, 2019 at 11:46 am PDT

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the partial shutdown of the U.S. government drags on through its 18th day, air travellers are just the latest people to be affected.

Some airports south of the border have already reported long lines at checkpoints, apparently caused by a rising number of security officers calling in sick while they aren’t getting paid.

Similar situations have also been reported on this side of the border.

Roughly 51,000 TSA agents have reportedly been working without a paycheck since the shutdown began. The Transportation Security Administration insists the impact has been minimal so far.

Meantime, the Canada Border Services Agency is telling people applying for NEXUS that enrollment centres in Canada are open, and select locations are “completing the Canadian portion of the enrollment process for clients that had appointments.”

However, the CBSA is telling applicants that they will need to reschedule interviews with U.S. Customs and Border Protection once the shutdown has ended in order the “finalize the process.”

The ongoing partial shutdown is also prompting a call for travelers to the U.S. to arrive at airports earlier than usual.

A number of flights out of Vancouver International Airport for destinations south of the border were delayed Tuesday morning, however, it’s unclear whether these delays were caused by the shutdown.

A U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said Monday that inspectors are being called back to work on a case-by-case basis, with a priority put on inspecting airline fleets.

So far, the impact of the shutdown — entering its 18th day on Tuesday — has been most visible for some government buildings and national parks being closed, and trash piling up on the National Mall in front of the Capitol. If the shutdown continues, food stamp recipients will go without aid.

By increasingly affecting air travel, however, the pain is being felt more widely.

President Donald Trump will address Americans tonight from the Oval Office on the funding stalemate over a wall at the border with Mexico — the main reason for the shutdown.