Steve Sailer visited a ranch near Palominas, Arizona where the volunteer group American Border Patrol are testing out a prototype Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) they plan to use to track illegal aliens entering the United States from Mexico.
His plan, he noted, is to narrowcast live coverage nightly over the AmericanBorderPatrol.com Web site, using low-light and thermal imaging cameras, of what he carefully calls "suspected border intruders." However, he intends to only report their global positioning satellite coordinates to the Department of Homeland Security to prevent vigilantes and other hotheads from beating the government agents to them.
Spencer claimed his goals are two-fold: to help the DHS's Border Patrol do a better job, and to make vivid to the public the extent of the illegal immigration problem in order to build political pressure for stronger enforcement of immigration laws.
American Border Patrol uses a number of other technologies to detect illegal aliens crossing the border.
Once they're out in the field, they deploy mobile microwave and satellite links and military motion sensors. They communicate with each other using Rino GPS-equipped radios.
Robert Bonner, commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, told a House of Representatives panel yesterday that it makes sense to conduct a pilot program using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.
Tom Ridge, Cabinet Secretary for the Homeland Security Department, says the US government will be operating at least one drone on the border by the end of the year. But so far the government has not made moves to purchase UAVs to patrol the border.
Despite Ridge's statement that drones might be in use before year's end, the government has taken no steps to purchase any, according to Mario Villareal, a spokesman for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
Even if every illegal alien could be identified using a large number of UAVs there'd probably still be a need for a larger number of Border Patrol agents to go around and round them all up. Still, UAVs could enable exsitng agents to use their time much more productively.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 June 20 03:00 AM Immigration Border Control|