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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 SPOOFE on 6/24/2010 11:24:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

You have not read 1070. There is no conflict between it and the 4th Amendment. 1070 does not permit officers to engage in any searches or seizures that they weren't already permitted to do under law.

Again, every figure of note on the political stage, making the "unconstitutional" assertion, has stepped back from that charge after actually reading the bill.


RE: Or....
By SPOOFE on 6/24/2010 11:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
To up the ante: If you think there is some aspect of 1070 (as far as legislation goes, it's a fairly light read) that violates the 4th amendment, please cite and quote the text for all to see. Violations of the Constitution need to be exposed, and if you truly felt so passionate about it, you'd leap at the chance. I'll wait.


"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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