DHS Plans to Cut Aerial Border Surveillance in Half

Nick Kangadis | February 4, 2016
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(Image: Getty Images)

According to several concerned lawmakers in Washington, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is planning to cut 50 percent of the budget for aerial surveillance along the Southern U.S. border.

In an effort to understand why DHS are cutting funding, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) wrote a bi-partisan letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.

“Any decrease in aerial observation is not only imprudent, but contradicts the very mission of border security enforcement,” the letter states.

The letter also asks for detailed information about the reduction aerial-based border security, also known as Operation Phalanx.

In the letter, Abbott and Cuellar call the news of such a drastic reduction in border security “unsettling.”

It has come to our attention that for calendar year 2016 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested 3,850 hours of persistent aerial detection, situational awareness and monitoring capability support for Operation Phalanx from the Department of Defense (DOD). This request was fifty percent lower than that of recent years. Given the recent surge of migrants from Central America and Cuba along the southern border, we believe DHS should request more surveillance and security resources, not fewer. Moreover, Texas requested additional aerial observation resources in a September 30, 2015, letter that went unanswered by your department.

The fact that DHS now appears to be taking the opposite approach is unsettling.

The news of a reduction of border security is distressing, considering the apprehension numbers recently reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

MRCTV recently reported:

On top of the massive and ever-increasing surge in illegal alien family units flooding into the country, the agency is also reporting a huge uptick in the number of illegal alien kids crossing into the United States illegally. As of Dec. 31, CBP states it had apprehended 17,370 unaccompanied minors at the border since Oct. 1 -- a 117 percent increase from the same time frame last fiscal year.

The Texas Tribune reported that a DHS spokesman said the department would respond to Abbott and Cuellar “directly.”

It might be a good guess that DHS does not want to tell Abbott and Cuellar “too bad, so sad” in public.