In the closing days of the Obama Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has shut down a critical Border aerial surveillance program. DHS officials quietly shutdown the military aerial support program known as Operation Phalanx, Watchdog.org reported. The program was created by President Obama in 2010 to provide National Guard resources to monitor drug smuggling operations and illegal border crossings by immigrants and human smugglers.
Despite the fact that the program was fully funded for FY 2017 by Congress, the DHS began scaling back the program in January, Breitbart Texas reported. The move prompted an objection from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX). “Any decrease in aerial observation is not only imprudent, but contradicts the very mission of border security enforcement,” Abbott and Cuellar wrote a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. “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.”
Following the DHS’s decision to completely close the program, Representative Cuellar renewed his objections. He is now requesting the support of other members of the Texas Congressional Delegation including House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX), Representative John Carter (R-TX), and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). Governor Abbott also responded to the report by Watchdog.org with a message on Twitter. “Obama is doing everything he can to open the border,” the governor tweeted. “January 20th can’t come soon enough.” He added that his deployment of Texas National Guard members will continue.
Chairman McCaul also responded to Watchdog.org inquiry saying, “Over the last several years, Congress has provided billions of dollars to secure the borders, but without an end goal in mind.”
The DHS, which has a history of lying to the public about the actual situation along the Mexican border, asserted that illegal crossing have declined along the Texas-Mexico border, Watchdog.org reported. Breitbart Texas has reported extensively throughout the year about the increasing numbers of border crossing apprehensions – particularly the apprehensions of Incomplete Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) and Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).
In the months leading up to the election of President-Elect Donald Trump, immigrants began flooding across the border at record numbers. 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.
Of the total number of family units apprehended all along our southwest border with Mexico (13,124), 8,726 were apprehended in the RGV Sector. A total of 11,183 FMUAs were apprehended in Texas alone. An FMUA is defined by CBP officials as “children who are apprehended with one or more parent or legal guardian.” That means the 13,124 FMUAs apprehended in October represent at least 26,248 people.
A total of 6,754 UACs were also apprehended in October. Of those, 65 percent (4,093) were apprehended in the RGV sector and 5,518 in all of Texas.