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Thread: DHS shuts down aerial surveillance on border

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    DHS shuts down aerial surveillance on border

    DHS shuts down aerial surveillance on border

    By Kenric Ward / November 18, 2016 / News / 3 Comments


    Texas.gov photo
    DARKENED OPS: A Texas-based UH-72 helicopter assigned to Operation Phalanx prepares to lift off for the Mexican border.


    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security quietly shut down Operation Phalanx, an aerial surveillance program that intercepts drugs and illegal crossings along the Mexican border.

    Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, vows to challenge DHS’s move, saying Congress provided “full funding” for 2017.


    Cuellar, a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Homeland Security Subcommittee, is drafting a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson protesting the shutdown.


    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Cuellar challenged Johnson last February
    when DHS reduced Phalanx’s flight operations.


    This time, Cuellar is seeking reinforcements from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Reps. Mike McCaul, R-San Antonio, and John Carter, R-Round Rock.


    Cornyn sits on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security and the Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security panel. McCaul chairs the Homeland Security Committee in the House and Carter chairs the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

    Abbott’s office declined to comment; Cornyn and Carter did not respond to requests for comment.


    McCaul, who referred questions to the Homeland Security Committee, previously called on DHS to “develop a strategy to gain operational control” of the border.


    “Over the last several years, Congress has provided billions of dollars to secure the borders, but without an end goal in mind,” McCaul said in a statement.


    McCaul has authored legislation “to require the [DHS] secretary to gain situational awareness through the use of sophisticated technologies and other means, giving our border agents the ability to predict changes in illegal activity. “


    DHS, which did not respond to Watchdog’s request for comment by deadline, asserts that illegal crossings have declined along the Texas-Mexico border.


    But U.S. Border Patrol reports show that apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley rose 27 percent in fiscal 2016 versus fiscal 2015.


    In the smaller Laredo sector, Operation Phalanx accounted for 10,559 apprehensions and 4,007 “turnbacks” from March 2012 to December 2015. Phalanx was credited with seizing 12,851 pounds of narcotics during the period.


    President Barack Obama established Operation Phalanx in July 2010 via executive order. The Army National Guard was authorized to provide up to 1,200 soldiers and airmen along the 1,933-mile southwest border to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a DHS agency.


    Using advanced UH-72 helicopters, Phalanx flight crews generally consist of three National Guardsmen — two pilots and a sensor operator — and one Border Patrol agent.


    Southwest border states of Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico provided the bulk of Phalanx personnel from their local Guard units.


    In addition to Texas National Guard manpower and resources dedicated to Operation Phalanx, the Lone Star State has committed nearly $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds to border enforcement since 2005.


    President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to appoint more robust leadership at DHS, so Operation Phalanx could be back in business by January.

    http://watchdog.org/282195/border-su...nce-shut-down/

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    If people don't wake up and smell the crap, if this isn't proof enough that all these open border politicians and many DHS officials aren't on the take with the drug cartels, then something is wrong with you.
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  3. #3
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    Texas Leaders Demand Restart for Aerial Border Surveillance

    by BOB PRICE
    23 Nov 2016
    Washington, D.C.

    Bipartisan Texas leaders called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to restart the suspended border aerial surveillance program known as Operation Phalanx.

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) joined with Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) in sending a letter to DHS officials demanding that the aerial border surveillance flights not only start back up, but increase in numbers. The call comes after Mr. Cuellar’s announcement last week that DHS officials halted Operation Phalanx flights despite being fully funded by Congress for FY 2017 to carry out the missions, Breitbart Texas reported.

    “Given the continuing surge of migrants along the Southern Border beyond FY15 numbers and a large uptick in apprehensions already for the month of November 2016, we believe DHS should be requesting more surveillance and security resources, not less,” Governor Abbott, Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar write in the letter (attached below). “Given that Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine is currently 12 percent below its goal for air interdiction agents this cut in DoD support is extremely imprudent.”

    Other Texas leaders have remained silent on the issue including House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX), Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R), and Rep. John Carter (R-TX) who were all asked for comments according to Watchdog.

    Despite evidence to the contrary, DHS officials claimed they shut down the program because of a decrease in border crossing apprehensions. All evidence reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows border apprehensions continue to increase, especially in the numbers of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and Family Unit Aliens (FMUA).

    The numbers have increase so dramatically, Border Patrol officials have temporarily moved agents from some front-line locations to the Texas border sectors to aid in processing the children and families crossing the border. CBP officials announced this week, the opening of an overflow processing and holding facility near the Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry in West Texas, Breitbart Texas reported.

    Despite the fact that the program was fully funded for FY 2017 by Congress, the DHS began scaling back the program in January, Breitbart Texas reported. The move prompted an objection from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX).

    “Any decrease in aerial observation is not only imprudent, but contradicts the very mission of border security enforcement,” Abbott and Cuellar wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson at that time. “In order to ensure we are doing everything possible to effectively secure the border, we request immediate information on the metrics used to determine that a 50 percent reduction in aerial resources would be sufficient to support this important border security operation.”

    By all accounts, Operation Phalanx has been an effective tool at helping to keep the border crisis from being even more dramatic that it already is. Watchdog reported that in the Laredo Sector alone, “Operation Phalanx accounted for 10,559 apprehensions and 4,007 ‘turnbacks’ from March 2012 to December 2015. Phalanx was credited with seizing 12,851 pounds of narcotics during the period.”

    “At this time, DHS has not requested any flight hours to support Operation Phalanx for calendar year 2017,” Governor Abbott wrote in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. The letter by Governor Abbott, Senator Cornyn and Congressman Cuellar requested that DHS identify which resources will be utilized to backfill the gaps left by a reduction in the aerial resources used to support the nation’s border security efforts.

    “In light of the rise in apprehensions since 2015, the request for supplemental flight hours, and the staffing shortages facing CBP, we request immediate information on the metrics used to determine that a full cut in DoD aerial resources for Operation Phalanx would be sufficient to support our nation’s border security efforts,” the letter concludes.

    http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2016/...-surveillance/
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    The timing of this so close to Thanksgiving when they're giving us Thanksgiving terror threat notices for the parade tomorrow? You can't trust anyone in this Administration.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
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  5. #5
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Grounded Phalanx operation nabbed 110,000 illegals at border

    By Kenric Ward / November 28, 2016


    EYE IN THE SKY: A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent looks out of a helicopter near the Texas-Mexico border during a 2014 patrol.AP File Photo

    While surveillance helicopters were grounded in Texas, the head of Customs and Border Protection called the flights critical to “countering illegal immigration” from Mexico.

    Records bear that out: a government report obtained by Watchdog.org credited Operation Phalanx with apprehending 110,000 illegal border crossers.

    CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske stated in a Nov. 16 letter that Phalanx “provided tangible benefits to border security.” His letter to the Department of Defense was sent two days before Watchdog revealed CBP’s parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, had quietly halted border surveillance flights in Texas’ Laredo district.

    U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, confirmed DHS’ move to shut down Phalanx, and lodged a letter of protest with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. The letter was co-signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

    According to apprehension and seizure records obtained by Watchdog, Operation Phalanx logged 2,800 hours of flight time in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo sectors since March. Another 1,000 flight-hours were reported in the Tucson, Arizona, sector.

    The surveillance flights were credited with apprehending 64,000 illegal border crossings in the Rio Grande sector and 25,000 in Laredo.

    Another 21,000 apprehensions were attributed to Phalanx in the Tucson area.

    Using UH-72 helicopters flown by National Guard crews and equipped with night-vision surveillance capabilities, Phalanx also assisted in drug interdictions.

    Reports obtained by Watchdog showed 217,000 pounds of marijuana were seized through Phalanx operations in the Tucson sector. The two Texas districts totaled a combined 89,000 pounds.

    CBP says it is working with the Defense Department and National Guard units to resume the aerial surveillance program in 2017.

    In his letter, Kerlikowske proposed directing 30 percent of Phalanx’s projected $55 million congressional appropriation to the Laredo sector, 20 percent to Tucson and 25 percent to the Rio Grande Valley.

    The remaining 25 percent would be earmarked for “surge operations in and around the Rio Grande Valley,” he stated.

    Meantime, Phalanx staffers report that flights have been canceled in the Laredo sector for the remainder of this year. They say the disruption will add unnecessary contractual and manpower costs — if and when the program resumes.

    A congressional source familiar with Phalanx called the program cost-effective because it leverages the training of National Guard crews. “CBP could not fill the [flight] hours if these helicopters come off the board,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    http://watchdog.org/282803/phalanx-illegals-border/
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Well, there's a new President coming to town so get ready! Every available resource will be utilized to the maximum to stop illegal immigration, and it will happen fast.

    Anyone who has thought or believed that we can't deport 30 million illegal aliens just doesn't know our true capabilities.
    Beezer likes this.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    All these illegals paying coyotes are going to be really disappointed when they are rounded up and sent back penniless!

    Do not come here, save your money...you will be deported.

    Go to your President and change YOUR country.
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