Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Immigration Border Crisis": The Perfect Excuse for Total Drone Surveillance

The crisis du jour in the U.S. is now the "immigration border crisis": thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. border. Although the crisis is not one of detecting these immigrants, but of discovering an ethical response to their plight, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is wasting no time demanding money for surveillance equipment.

As reported by NBC News, "[t]he White House wants an additional $3.7 billion to deal with the current crisis, with $39.4 million committed to air surveillance — including funds meant for 16 additional crews to operate and maintain drones" (See "Eyes in the Sky: Are Pricey Border Patrol Drones Worth the Money?")

The immediate challenge will be for immigrants rights and civil liberties activists in states on the southern border -- California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas -- to redouble their efforts to keep the drones on the ground.

But just how long do the non-border states think it will be before those drones are being "borrowed" by local law enforcement or other federal agencies for all kinds of purposes, in all kinds of places?

Related posts

The acquisition of drones by LAPD, in the larger context of the LAPD Architecture of surveillance, spying and infiltration, demonstrates the continued militarization of the LAPD. Embedded within this infrastructure is an enormous array of electronic and human surveillance programs and devices such as - Trapwire, Stingray, Hi Definition Cameras, Automatic License Plate Readers, Suspicious Activity Reporting, Special Order 1, iWATCH, Predictive Policing, and the Safer Cities Initiative.

(See "No Drones in LA!")

Texas' "drone zone" is anchored by Fort Bliss in El Paso, an authorized basing/training site for Reaper drones and smaller-scale Shadow and Raven drones. Two other anchors of Texas' "drone zone" are on the Gulf Coast . . . .

(See Texas' Militarized Border: How Will Drone Politics Impact the 2014 Midterm in the 23rd? )

It was interesting that on the main street at Senator Udall's office several bystanders joined in with us to hold signs for a while. There is a good amount of general knowledge about drones and the controversy surrounding them.

(See Jan18: Albuquerque Protests Drones )

According to the Department of Defense Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability (April 2012), Arizona has six (6) locations that have been designated as potential basing locations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) [i.e. drones].

(See Arizona Drone Bases)

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