Homeland Security gives border update; unmanned aerial vehicles on the horizon.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday afternoon…

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday afternoon that additional unmanned aerial vehicles will allow coverage of the U.S. Southwest Border from El Centro, Calif., to the Gulf of Mexico.

The latest unmanned vehicle will be airborne Wednesday, Napolitano said in a teleconference from Washington, D.C.
Two more unmanned vehicles will be added shortly, bringing to six the number used on the Southwest border. The fleet, she said, is anticipated to reach six by year’s end, controlled by Customs and Border Protection in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Napolitano held a brief teleconference to discuss the Obama administration’s progress in implementing new security measures to combat transnational criminal organizations smuggling weapons, cash and people over the Southwest border.

The unmanned vehicles, she said, will provide “critical aerial assistance” as an important step to securing the border.

“What we are seeing today,” Napolitano said, “is the most serious approach to border control I have seen in my career.”

She has served as a U.S. Attorney, Arizona Attorney General, Arizona Governor and now as Department of Homeland Security Secretary.

In no particular order, she listed the expanded unmanned vehicle use, dedication of historical numbers of personnel to the Southwest border, more deployment of security systems by CBP and completion of all but six miles of border fencing as among the top border security initiatives.

Others, she said, include screenings of southbound rail and vehicles, increased seizure of drugs and currency, increased audits of employers and deterrent of illegal immigration through increased investments in border security.

There was, she said, a 23-percent drop in apprehensions last year. With deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops and doubling of the U.S. Border Patrol’s numbers since 2004, there are now more boots on the ground.

Source: Kevin Buey for the Sun-News.

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