Grounded Aerial Surveillance Stopped 110,000 Illegals at Border
November 30, 2016
Surveillance flights nabbed 110,000 illegal immigrants trying to cross into the United State from Mexico, The Daily Signal reports.
The flights, operating under a program called Operation Phalanx, were shut down — at least for the rest of the year by Homeland Security — amid protests from elected officials who represent the adjacent area.
According to the Daily Signal, Operation Phalanx logged 2,800 hours of flight time in in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo sectors in Texas since March. About 1,000 additional flight hours were reported in the Tucson, Arizona area.
The flights were credited with stopping 64,000 illegal border crossings in the Rio Grand sector and 25,000 in Laredo. Phalanx also apprehended another 21,000 people attempted to cross illegally in the Tucson area.
Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske maintained the program “provided tangible benefits to border security.”
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas,) co-signed a letter of protest to Homeland Security along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn, (R-Texas) All are trying to jumpstart the program for 2017.
The program used UH-72 helicopters flown by the National Guard. The aircrafts are equipped with night vision surveillance capabilities.
According to the Daily Signal, reports revealed more than 300,000 pounds of marijuana were also seized during the Phalanx operations.
Meanwhile, elected officials continue to be up in arms over the grounded flights, particularly Gov. Abbott, who took to Twitter to blast President Barack Obama.
Obama is doing everything he can to open the border. January 20th can’t come soon enough. National Guard remains. https://t.co/N3qF8LhWTy
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 18, 2016
An LA Times article in 2015 highlighted what they believed to be truth that drones patrolling the U.S. border were poorly managed and ineffective at stopping illegal immigration, and that the government should abandon a $400-million plan to expand their use, according to an internal watchdog report released Tuesday.
They were referencing a report submitted by Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, John Roth (nominated by Obama), to House of Representatives Homeland Security subcommittee written July 14, 2015. In the report, he felt that without proper measures the Border Patrol could not prove that the money spent was effective to completing the task of security on the borders. Since he had nothing substantial to review as metrics then there was no need for the program to continue. In other words, he decided there was no need to continue spending funds on something that could not prove its worth. No amount of persuasion apparently was able to sway his decision.
There was argument to be made that funds had not been allocated to maintain the drones and cover the cost of flight time according to OAM. Those operating the drones were basically told here is a surveillance method – use it but there is no money if it breaks down or for flight costs. They referenced back to a 2007 UAS Mission Need Statement, Concept of Operations, and Acquisition Plan as justification.
None of this was mentioned in the LA Times article. They simply stated Roth’s comment.
“Rather than spend more on drones, the department should “put those funds to better use,” Roth recommended. He described the Predator B drones flown along the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as “dubious achievers.”
This then might explain possibly in part why a year later, the DHS order to discontinue drone surveillance was issued — maybe, sort of.
Obama was told that his signature legacy to bring in illegal aliens hit a roadblock in the Supreme Court in June 2016.
More likely with this report as proof, it seems that someone in DHS decided to use this as a way to get around the legalities of the Supreme Court decision. The drones stopped operation at the end of August through November.
That does not explain why other surveillance was either eliminated or drastically reduced during the months leading up to the General Election.
As of now, there is no telling how many, why the stand down order was given, who has entered our southern borders, or what purpose they have for rushing across the borders. Judicial Watch, many other articles, and my own posts have mentioned the many Middle Eastern/African nationals waiting at the southern borders of the US to cross into our country. WND and others have noted though in November that the border patrol defied Obama and begun surveillance once again since the General Election.
As far as I can see, money was not the issue. At issue was Obama getting as many illegals into this country as possible in defiance of court order and before January 20th inauguration of Trump.
I doubt that one thing will be done by Congress before the end of this session to checkmate Obama on a damn thing. Even though we have ample proof of the dangers and national security issues. Jeh Johnson and his “Obumites” need to step down now. That goes double for other agencies like DoJ and FBI.