Aerial Drones Take Over the Border

Does everyone feel safe yet?

By Julianne Hing Sep 01, 2010

Does everyone feel safe yet? It’s September 1, the day that unmanned surveillance drones arrive to patrol the entire southwest U.S.-Mexico border.

Reuters reports that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has sent Predator B drones into the air from Corpus Christi, Texas, today to begin surveillance of the United States’ 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

Napoiltano told reporters: "With the deployment of the Predator in Texas, we will now be able to 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. This is yet another critical step we have taken in ensuring the safety of the border and is an important tool in our security toolbox."

By 2011, there will be a total of seven unmanned aircrafts hovering in the air, most over land, and at least one patrolling the coast. These aircrafts, which are identical to military toys used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, rely on radar technology to detect human movement and are specially designed for long, high-altitude flights. According to McAllen, Texas’ The Monitor, they’ve identified some 4,000 people crossing through the desert and 15,000 pounds of marijuana.

And more aircrafts are on their way, too. When Congress passed an extra $600 million for border security earlier this summer, the bill included $32 million for two more aerial drones, which are scheduled to arrive in 2012.