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After a standoff between President Obama and Texas Republicans, President Obama has agreed to spend $500M USD to expand border patrol and new Reaper drones to patrol the skies.  (Source: AP)

The Reaper drones will hunt for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.  (Source: AP)

The move comes amid southern states' controversial crackdown on illegal immigration and opposition to providing Mexicans a path to citizenship.  (Source: AP)
Drones will help monitor Mexican and U.S. nationals, watch for illegal immigrants and drugs

Amid a heated debate over legislation passed earlier this year in Arizona aimed at identifying, prosecuting, and deporting illegal immigrants, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will be increasing the number of unmanned drones used to patrol the U.S. Mexican border, hunting for drugs and illegal immigrants.

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted the DHS permission to launch missions from along the border, including Texas, and along the Gulf Coast region.  The Customs and Border Protection department will maintain a drone at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas.  That drone will likely be used to hunt down groups of people crossing the border illegal, alerting authorities to apprehend them.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy will also be cooperating with the DHS on using other drones on drug-enforcement related missions.  The collaborative effort is dubbed "Operation Roadrunner" and will scan license plates on the U.S. side of the border to try to spot known drug traffickers.

The DHS will also be working with the Justice Department to implement a cooperative framework to share drone-related info with the state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies.  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's plan involves cities not on the border, but in the general area providing additional resources to the border towns.

The drones used in most of the patrol will be the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, a large, versatile UAV sometimes referred to as the Predator B.  The Reaper can carry a heavy amount of ordinance, but it would be assumed that the border patrol drones will be unarmed.  The drones can be outfitted with a variety of sensors.

Thus far the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs has only used 6 Predator B drones, the first of which was deployed in Arizona in October 2005.  That drone contributed to the seizure of four vehicles and 8,267 pounds of marijuana [PDF].  That success encouraged the Border Patrol to establish more patrols of the Mexican and Canadian borders.  One drone is based in North Dakota, at the UAS Operations Center in Grand Forks, four in Arizona, at the UAS Operations Center in Sierra Vista and one based at Fort Drum, N.Y.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the drones will be their use in detecting and capturing illegal immigrants.  President Obama, an advocate of immigration reform, was reportedly reticent to increase government spending to deploy more drones to track illegal immigrants and drugs on the border.  However, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) forced Obama's hand by blocking the confirmation of Michael Huerta to be deputy director of the FAA.  They now are going to received the $500M USD in extra federal spending they wanted, and at least two more drones.

Mexico is one of the heaviest sources of illegal immigration.  Of the 11 million illegal immigrants who participated in a 2008 study by the Center for Immigration Studies, 57 percent, or roughly 6.3 million individuals came from Mexico.  

 



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RE: Or....
By callmeroy on 6/24/2010 2:00:18 PM , Rating: 1
Here's where I stand on the illegal immigrant issue

1) This is a nation of foreigners so anyone who is hard core against immigration is a friggin moron they live in the USA

2) I don't HATE someone JUST for the fact of being an immigrant, but I do HATE the fact that if you are "illegal" it means you worked the system (not that its hard to do these days)...you didn't take your turn you just butted a head in the line....my great grandparents were from Italy they came over properly, waited to be legal filled out the paperwork, went through the processes, etc.

What makes illegals think they are above that stuff - that aggravates the hell out of me.

3) If you aren't "documented" that means you aren't paying taxes -- because essentially how can you if you have no documentation...you have no tax id / ssn. But you still use tax payer services...you still take advantage of the ER, you still (and this is amazing to me) are able to get a license and drive a car in some states....

On top of that we have droves of yahoo's in all these protests demanding health care benefits, welfare benefits, etc. etc. for illegal immigrants...who aren't paying taxes... WTF folks...

THAT's my beef with illegal immigration and yet because whole cheap labor industries (mostly agricultural and the restaurant business) depend heavily on immigrant labor...(not to mention the votes they represent) our country's government tip toes around the issue with kid gloves...


RE: Or....
By SPOOFE on 6/24/2010 2:28:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1) This is a nation of foreigners so anyone who is hard core against immigration is a friggin moron they live in the USA

Immigration can be quite healthy for a nation, just as red meat can be healthy for a person. Of course, too much red meat can kill ya.


RE: Or....
By callmeroy on 6/25/2010 8:35:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I hear reading comprehension is good too...(probably the same moron who voted it down has just as good comprehension skills as you do...)

I said I'm for LEGAL immigration....I'm AGAINST (and have been since the first time I ever formed an opinion on the topic) ILLEGAL immigration.


RE: Or....
By mydogfarted on 6/24/2010 3:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
Or, you know, pay social security and medicare taxes for a benefit they'll never receive
http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2008-04-...

quote:
Spokesman Mark Hinkle says Social Security does not know how much of the $9 billion can be attributed to illegal immigrants. The number is certainly not 100%, but a significant portion probably comes from taxes paid by illegal immigrants.

Nine billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but it is only about 1.5% of the total $593 billion paid into Social Security in 2005.

The impact on Social Security is significant, though, because most of that money is never claimed by the people who pay it but instead helps cover retirement checks to legal workers.
quote:
In 2006, then IRS Commission Mark Everson told Congress that "many illegal aliens, utilizing ITINs, have been reporting tax liability to the tune of almost $50 billion from 1996 to 2003."

An IRS spokesman said more recent figures aren't available.

The Social Security and Medicare taxes from mismatched W2s for the same period was $41.4 billion, Hinkle said.

That adds up to roughly $90 billion in federal taxes during they eight-year period


quote:
But the latest figures available indicate it will amount to billions of dollars in federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes this year. One rough estimate puts the amount of Social Security taxes alone at around $9 billion per year.


RE: Or....
By albundy2 on 6/24/2010 7:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
my dad is hardcore against immigration. he's had a problem with immigration since plymouth rock. something to do with manifest destiny and growing up in a dustbowl called a reservation.


RE: Or....
By SPOOFE on 6/24/2010 9:04:36 PM , Rating: 2
An excellent example of the potential consequences of unchecked population movement and the inability or unwillingness to maintain one's territory.


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