“Necessary” Drones to Fight Immigration

NPR reports: Congress is calling for more drones to patrol the U.S./Mexico border in new immigration reform bills. These drones contain highly specialized technology, equipped with a “night camera, day camera, low-light camera, and laser target illumination,” some of the same devices used in drones patrolling Iraq and Afghanistan.  What does this push for more drone usage along the border say about America’s opinion of illegal immigrants? These drones have highly specialized equipment, yet are not armed, but they might as well be.  Such tactics to try to control illegal immigration seem extreme–using these drones to locate people so that ground officers can apprehend them is aggressive and excessive. What’s more, Congress is calling for drones to patrol the border 24/7, an increase from the 16 hours they are doing right now. What does this say about the way we view immigrants trying desperately to come to America? Yes, some of them may be involved in illegal activities, but some are just searching for a better life and opportunities they can’t find at home; crossing the border illegally may be the only method they can afford. Employing extreme measures in dealing with these illegal immigrants seems heavy-handed and even unnecessary, as NPR reports,

“[Some] say the emphasis should shift from border security to interior enforcement, such as employer verification. That, they say, would catch those crossing illegally, the people employing them, and those who entered legally and overstayed their visas.”

This extreme method of controlling our borders seems disproportionate to the means and the cost. Not only does the use of drones seem aggressive and excessive, it sends a powerful  message that America is severely restricting its borders. Are we still open to receiving immigrants nowadays? It our increasing border control simply our method of curbing illegal immigration? Or is there something deeper happening here–are we acting out of fear?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Drone

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Drone, equipped with specialized cameras to catch illegal immigrants

sources: http://www.npr.org/2013/06/11/190741527/border-drones-fly-into-fight-over-immigration (article)
http://ivn.us/2013/05/13/how-immigration-reform-affects-drone-use-in-southwest-states/ (image)

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