U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that Predator Unmanned Aerial System flights, also known as drones, will begin out of Corpus Christi, Texas, beginning on Wednesday, Sept.1. With the deployment of drones in Texas, DHS unmanned aerial capabilities will now cover the Southwest Border—from the El Centro Sector in California all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas—providing critical aerial surveillance assistance to personnel on the ground.
The new, border-wide use of the Predator aircraft, comes on the heels of the recently passed Southwest border security supplemental legislation, which will provide additional drones that will bolster these newly expanded operations.
These efforts are just the latest steps that the President and his Administration have directed to the southwest border since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009.
Since then, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has doubled the number of personnel assigned to border enforcement security task forces; tripled the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers working along the U.S.-Mexico border; quadrupled deployments of border liaison officers; and begun screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments for illegal weapons, drugs, and cash. In addition, the Administration is dedicating $600 million in new funding to enhance security technology at the border, share information and support with state, local, and tribal law enforcement, and increase federal law enforcement activities at the border.