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Tipsheet

Another Critical Tool Border Patrol Needs to Secure the Border Is Going Away

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

The Biden administration is drastically reducing the number of surveillance blimps, aerostats, at the U.S.-Mexico border due to cost amid the ongoing crisis as illegal entries into the country remain at historic highs.

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Aerostats are one of the surveillance tools used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to detect attempted gotaways, which are at all-time highs. One of the advantages aerostats have over helicopters and airplanes is the length of time they can stay in the air.

Fox News reports out of the 12 aerostats that were originally contracted out, only four will now remain in the Rio Grande Valley Sector:

The Department of Defense, which agreed to spend $52 million to continue operating aerostats through to the end of FY 2022, which ended in October, after the Department of Homeland Security cut funding for the program. 

Last year, the Biden administration added a balloon in Nogales, Arizona. A CBP spokesman told local media that the technology has been used along the border since 2013, that the blimp in question has a range of 3,000 feet above ground level and allows Border Patrol to 'maintain visual awareness of border activity in the United States for longer periods of time.'

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"The U.S. Border Patrol began reducing the number of Tactical Aerostats it deploys along the southwest border on January 1, 2023," A CBP spokesperson told Fox News. "Although the Border Patrol’s number of aerostats will be reduced, the Border Patrol will continue to use aerostats throughout FY 2023," adding they are looking at other pieces of surveillance technology for the land border while looking to expand aerostat usage along costal borders.

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