Amid high influxes of migrant crossings at the United States’ southern border, a new report from the Washington Examiner found that the Border Patrol was able to apprehend more than 50,000 immigrants who illegally crossed the border in the most recent fiscal year.
According to the report, in the federal government’s fiscal 2022 year, which ended September 30, Border Patrol reported that 51,248 apprehensions of illegal immigrants were made by unmanned drones. Federal law enforcement officials have been using unmanned aerial systems at America’s land, air, and sea borders, tracking unauthorized entries.
In 2022, these drones played a significant role in helping agents obtain a bird’s eye view of groups that could be tracked on foot or by vehicle.
On the Border Patrol’s official Instagram page, the agency listed the statistics of drones, including 13,108 flight hours, 51,248 apprehensions, 2,238 pounds of narcotic drones, 111 conveyances seized, and five farms seized.
According to the Examiner, over the past decade, federal police on the southern border has seen more cartel-operated drones transporting small bundles of valuable narcotics through the air and down to someone on the U.S. side.
Experts familiar with drone technology note that these devices can fly several miles from their operator, with users operating the drone with a remote control or input instructions and allowing it to work without a guide.
The drone owner can avoid being captured by American federal law enforcement while smuggling drugs, money, firearms, or other items between countries.
With officials unaware of the use of drones by Mexican cartels to smuggle contraband over the border and unable to do anything when seen, it is impossible for agents to determine who sent the drone and to prosecute that person, according to the report.
Border Patrol enforcement officers and agents do not have the resources to find a drone outside their purview.
While counter-drone tools exist in the private sector, border agents are waiting for approval, leaving them helpless to do anything.
According to reports, obtaining more drones and technological systems has been a slow process for Border Patrol.
Since coming into office, the Biden administration has faced a massive influx of illegal migrants crossing the U.S. southern border, leaving many agents overwhelmed and distressed over the lack of support from the President and the easing of restrictions by the Department of Homeland Security Officials. While members of the administration say that the border is secure, crossings continue to rise, allowing drug cartels to smuggle drugs like fentanyl and other illicit narcotics landing in hands of young Americans.
In Congress, Senators and members of the House of Representatives have called on the White House to manage the crisis at the southern border.