The federal Government has been dragging its feet for years on Governor Perry’s request to have unmanned aircraft, aka Predator Drones, patrolling the Texas Mexico border.
Governor Perry and the Texas Congressional delegation has been calling for this for years as a part of his border securty plan.
Under Gov. Perry, Texas has been a leader on border security while the federal government has faltered. Under his leadership, Texas has put more boots on the ground, more technology to use, and more targeted operations to dramatically reduce all crime along the border.
Transnational Gang Initiative. In response to a rising tide of gang violence in Texas communities, Gov. Perry secured funding for enhanced anti-gang efforts all across the state. On Feb. 26, 2009, Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano requesting the deployment of an additional 1,000 National Guard soldiers to the Texas-Mexico border and has yet to receive a response. Gov. Perry reiterated his request and concerns in a letter to President Barack Obama on Aug. 21, 2009. Ranger Recon. In September, Gov. Perry launched the Ranger Recon security initiative, which utilizes Ranger Reconnaissance Teams to tap the specialized criminal intelligence and apprehension capabilities of the Texas Rangers to protect Texans who live in remote areas of the border and whose lives and property are threatened by criminals coming across the border. Surge Operations. Starting in June 2006, state-funded operations have committed resources to strategic areas, resulting in an average of 65 percent reduction of all crime, including rape, murder, human trafficking and narcotics smuggling in our border communities. In 2009, the 81st Legislature reapproved funding for border operations, dedicating more than $110 million for the second consecutive session.
Finally it seems that the Federal Government is moving on this and will allow the drones to patrol the southern border!
Unmanned planes could begin flying over Texas in a matter of months
By Tim Eaton
After years of political pressure from Texas politicians, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said Monday that he expects the federal government to deliver unmanned aircraft to watch over the border with Mexico by this fall.
Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, said he has had discussions with top officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s office of air and marine operations, and they agreed to the timetable, subject to Federal Aviation Administration approval to allow the surveillance planes — often referred to in the political vernacular as “Predator drones” — to fly over Texas.
Laura Brown, an FAA spokeswoman, said the administration is “working as quickly as we can on this.”
Cuellar said the FAA told him that regulators’ main concern has been with Texas’ heavy airplane traffic — both private and commercial.
If approved, the unmanned aircraft in Texas would add to the federal government’s existing border effort, which includes a handful of other unmanned aircraft, 20,000 Border Patrol agents, about 650 miles of border fence and 41 mobile surveillance systems, according to Customs and Border Protection.
The plane, which is made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and officially called a Predator B, is able to spot illegal border activity and send images in real time to border officials.
At that point, Border Patrol agents could be dispatched, according to Customs and Border Protection.
Cuellar — along with Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry — has been trying to bring the unmanned aircraft to Texas for years.
Cornyn and Perry, both Republicans, have been among the most vocal critics of the regulators’ pace.
“Washington needs to quit fiddling while the border region of America burns,” said Perry, who has been calling for Predators since 2005.
Also last week, Cornyn said that the FAA’s pace “borders on foot-dragging.”
Full Article here.