Feds to cut aerial monitoring of U.S. border by 50%

Feds to cut aerial monitoring of U.S. border by 50%
(CBP image; MQ-9 Predator B)

Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, pressed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday to explain why the agency plans to reduce its aerial surveillance on the Texas-Mexico border.

In a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, the lawmakers said the cut to a requested 3,850 hours of aerial detection and monitoring in 2016 amounts to 50 percent less coverage than recent years. …

The pair also reminded Johnson that in September, Abbott’s office asked the DHS for more aerial resources and U.S. Border Patrol agents but that the request was never acknowledged. …

Monday’s request comes as CBP is reporting a new surge in the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the Rio Grande. From October to December of 2015, about 10,560 unaccompanied minors entered Texas illegally through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. That marks a 115 percent increase over the same time frame in 2014.

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