As Obama’s time as president slowly comes to an end, he, along with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS,) have shut down a border aerial surveillance program, reports Watchdog.org.
The program, known as Operation Phalanx, was created in 2010 to help the National Guard monitor drug smuggling operations and illegal border crossings by immigrants.
Operation Phalanx was given full funding by Congress for 2017, but the DHS has been scaling back on the program since January, according to Breitbart Texas.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) have both objected to the DHS’ move to scale back the operation.
“Any decrease in aerial observation is not only imprudent, but contradicts the very mission of border security enforcement,” wrote Abbott and Cuellar to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in a letter. “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.”
This was prior to the DHS completely closing the program and once the department quietly did so, Cueller decided to request the support of other Texas Congressional Delegation
Members, including House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX), Representative John Carter (R-TX), and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX.)
Following Watchdog.org’s report, Abbott took to Twitter to express is disappointment.
“Obama is doing everything he can to open the border. January 20th can’t come soon enough,” tweeted Abbott.
McCaul also questioned the abandonment of the program. “Over the last several years, Congress has provided billions of dollars to secure the borders, but without an end goal in mind,” said McCaul.
The DHS has downplayed the number of illegals crossing the Mexican border and has even said that this number has decreased.
However, the months prior to Trump’s election, the number of immigrants illegally crossing the border has skyrocketed.
“Breitbart Texas reported earlier this month that in October 2016, FMUA apprehensions increased by 37 percent. UAC apprehensions were up by 19 percent, and total apprehensions were up by 17 percent,” writes Breitbart.
Now that number is only going to increase with less aerial surveillance.
“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,” writes Watchdog.org.
It looks like the Obama is loosening border controls, even though he is well aware of president-elect Trump’s plans to implement stricter ones.
Luckily, the current DHS Secretary Johnson’s term is also coming to an end and president-elect Trump is expected to put someone in charge who will properly address our immigration problem.
In response to the shutdown of the Operation Phalanx, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Texas has just announced the opening a Temporary Holding Facility, which is 40 miles east of El Paso.
Apparently, there has been an influx of illegal border crossings and this new detention center will be for the overflow of illegal immigrants undergoing processing at CBP ports of entry and Border Patrol stations in the El Paso Sector.
Editor’s note: Obama is still trying to get some licks in, even though he knows Trump will reverse him wherever possible. Unfortunately, this petulence is damaging and costly even in the short term.
This is why we need the wall. A politician in a bad mood has withdrawn air support to secure the border. Now the border is unsecured, the potential illegals know it, and we are back to where we started before the measures were implemented. This has been the issue all along, national security is at the whim of the politicians, and the ongoing invasion stops and starts. We need the permanent barrier, its the only way to send the message that we care about our border.