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The Department of Homeland Security will likely have to wait a while before having a full UAV fleet

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says it needs a fleet of 24 unmanned aerial vehicles to properly patrol the U.S. borders and aid in national disaster relief, security officials now say.  

The DHS would rather complete its anticipated UAV fleet as quickly as possible, but is only receiving enough funds to purchase one Predator aircraft every year.

The use of UAVs typically has been combat oriented, but can be used for a wide variety of tasks over U.S. territory.  The DHS previously announced it plans to use UAVs to help patrol the Mexican borders for illegal immigrants sneaking across -- and more importantly, according to some security experts, the drug and human smuggling groups that move freely across the border.

DHS officials will use its fleet to monitor both the Canadian and Mexican borders, and wants to have the capability of launching a UAV and reaching anywhere in the continental U.S. within three hours.  The U.S. Coast Guard recently finished testing the Guardian UAV as part of its unmanned maritime response movements.

Another problem the DHS will have to deal with is increased competition for experienced UAV pilots and sensor operators -- the select few that aren't currently in the military are quickly snapped up by private contractors and other government agencies.

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These have the potential...
By MrBlastman on 8/17/2010 9:07:56 AM , Rating: 5
To be abused by our Federal Government. The argument for them is a nice one--help patrol the border, help in disaster relief etc., but really, will they help _that_ much?

The border is a problem with a simple solution, sentry guns. Yes, sentry guns. *chirp chirp* no more problem. A wall doesn't work, we already know that was a waste of money, and just watching the people cross the border doesn't help either. I suppose, with co-ordination and _adequate_ funding for ground support (i.e. armed men in ATV's), they could be dispatched quickly to round up the offenders.

That is, as long as the ground support is allowed to actually defend themselves should they need to draw their firearms and not fear prosecution by their own country. I seem to remember a few situations where this has been an issue over the past few years... Now the men are afraid to take deadly action if needed.

However, these UAV's are a double-edged sword. They fly so high up, they can provide constant video feed over an area (unlike a satellite), are excellent at surveillance... What is going to stop DHS from abusing them to drop in on situations that they clearly do not have a warrant to observe or probable cause for? I see certain, unscrupulous individuals potentially abusing them.

It also brings into question our civil liberties as citizens. I look at this article with caution and don't jump up and cheer right away for these. At least with a helocopter, they are loud and noisy and honest citizens can get an idea they are being observed.

RE: These have the potential...
By JonB on 8/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: These have the potential...
By MrBlastman on 8/17/2010 9:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
You're missing the reference. :) It isn't a capital offense, hence, the chirping--which sends them fleeing, knowing that if they proceed further towards America, the sentries will open fire on them. It is a warning mechanism, giving them a chance to re-think their intended actions.

RE: These have the potential...
By dreddly on 8/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: These have the potential...
By knutjb on 8/17/2010 3:11:01 PM , Rating: 4
When people's mere existence in a country is a serious crime, there is something fundamentally wrong.
How? If they are here illegally (duh), whether they crossed the border OR overstayed a visa. As cynical as I sound below I am all for legal immigration. Allowing illegals to function as legal removes the moral authority from our laws and replaces it with relativism. That is why I am against that trend.

If we enforce what is already on the books would we have the problems we have? Probably not. Businesses wouldn't hire them and that motivation would stop most illegal labor immigration. Deportation then becomes a non-issue, no job most go home on their own.
Migration precedes the state system, the international system, and all contemporary laws and norms - quite simply it is a fundamental constant of human existence. No number of UAV's will change that.
Your relativism is ignorant. The reason unbridled immigration happened in the past is it wasn't illegal for the most part, people were escaping bad regimes, famine, what have you, and the world functioned on a local and regional basis and their impact on the region was marginal because of the small population at that time. The world for the most part no longer follows that paradigm. Now with gangs running drugs, people, and whatever contraband they can it created serious sociological problems.

When most migrants came to the US in the 1800-1960s they sent money home to bring over the rest of the family who could come over. There was a migrant worker visa program to help out with agriculture harvesting, we grew far more product than we had people to pick the crops and most crops were hand picked. The Unions pressed the Gov to stop the LEGAL worker visa program in 1964.

Today most come over, demand us to take care of them with our social programs, call us racist for even questioning their presence, and send massive amounts of money home, $20 billion every year just to Mexico to support their families with no allegiance to the country they leach off of.

Your right, the UAVs won't change that on its own. To stop the drug running they will have a tremendous affect. UAVs are being used by politicians who depend on illegal immigration, they want to grandfather them in as legal, to garner a tilt in the voting block.

With the UAVs coming one a year their impact on immigration is nonexistent. On campaigning value they can tell the average voter they are doing something to stop it, look we are buying UAVs to patrol the border. Disingenuous at best in their quest for a "Comprehensive Immigration Policy" that will fix all of this. BTW Reagan did have such a policy but the enforcement portion was never used.

I don't see allowing those who are here illegally to become legal will help the country when the last one made it worse. Silly me, 12 million plus new democrat voters...

RE: These have the potential...
By gamerk2 on 8/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: These have the potential...
By knutjb on 8/17/2010 7:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is the politicians who are the ones made it difficult. We (the US collectively), unfortunately, keep returning the same bozos expecting a different result. This is easy to fix but with one side at the behest of the unions who don't want cheap labor but do want to have more voters so make it easy to unionize them i.e. card check. The other who has many businesses wanting the status quo with donations to match but profess the rule of law. It won't be easy but its not impossible.

Towards the end of Bush when he got a clue on this after the uprising over the legalizing push by congress. He went after businesses and that started to have a positive impact. He didn't need new laws they were already sitting there on the books, un-enforced.

The new regime has stopped that policy and only the bad economy keeps things from getting worse. Look at the recent ICE officers vocalizing that their politically appointed leadership is preventing them from upholding the law.

To fix this is functionally simple; enforce all the existing laws, keep the politics out, re-enact the worker visa program that the unions killed in 1964, and greatly increase the quotas for legal immigration.

Politics prevents this from happening so vote the current SOBs out. You scream loud enough for long enough and politicians will change their greedy behavior to the right behavior. It did start happening the last time politicians pushed for legalization. They won't tunnel under if businesses won't hire them. Supply and demand.

By fictisiousname on 8/17/2010 10:00:47 AM , Rating: 2
Yo. You're not paranoid. Everybody really IS watching you, dude.

BTW, "funding for ground support (i.e. armed men in ATV's), they could be dispatched quickly to round up the offenders." seems to this admin to ONLY be the job of the Border Patrol, and an ATV can be heard/seen coming long enough for the crossers to scatter. Same with Helicopters.

I'm still trying to understand why America is one of the few, if not only, country to grant Constitutional protections to ILLEGAL border crossers.

Legal resident of the SW border area.

RE: These have the potential...
By dreddly on 8/17/2010 10:06:06 AM , Rating: 3
By the way most illegals do not get here coming over the fence.

Upwards of 50% overstay legal Visas. No criminal act per se is involved.

This is just another way for us to subsidize military expenditures and create tools used to police us.

RE: These have the potential...
By DougF on 8/18/2010 9:41:07 AM , Rating: 2
No criminal act per se is involved.

Overstaying IS the criminal act. Just because they entered legally doesn't mean they get to stay here legally.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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