DHS shuts down aerial surveillance on border

Watchdog – by Kenric Ward

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security quietly shut down Operation Phalanx, an aerial surveillance program that intercepts drugs and illegal crossings along the Mexican border.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, vows to challenge DHS’s move, saying Congress provided “full funding” for 2017.  

Cuellar, a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Homeland Security Subcommittee, is drafting a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson protesting the shutdown.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Cuellar challenged Johnson last February when DHS reduced Phalanx’s flight operations.

This time, Cuellar is seeking reinforcements from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Reps. Mike McCaul, R-San Antonio, and John Carter, R-Round Rock.

Cornyn sits on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security and the Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security panel. McCaul chairs the Homeland Security Committee in the House and Carter chairs the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

Abbott’s office declined to comment; Cornyn and Carter did not respond to requests for comment.

McCaul, who referred questions to the Homeland Security Committee, previously called on DHS to “develop a strategy to gain operational control” of the border.

“Over the last several years, Congress has provided billions of dollars to secure the borders, but without an end goal in mind,” McCaul said in a statement.

McCaul has authored legislation “to require the [DHS] secretary to gain situational awareness through the use of sophisticated technologies and other means, giving our border agents the ability to predict changes in illegal activity. “

DHS, which did not respond to Watchdog’s request for comment by deadline, asserts that illegal crossings have declined along the Texas-Mexico border.

But U.S. Border Patrol reports show that apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley rose 27 percent in fiscal 2016 versus fiscal 2015.

In the smaller Laredo sector, 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.

President Barack Obama established Operation Phalanx in July 2010 via executive order. The Army National Guard was authorized to provide up to 1,200 soldiers and airmen along the 1,933-mile southwest border to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a DHS agency.

Using advanced UH-72 helicopters, Phalanx flight crews generally consist of three National Guardsmen — two pilots and a sensor operator — and one Border Patrol agent.

Southwest border states of Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico provided the bulk of Phalanx personnel from their local Guard units.

In addition to Texas National Guard manpower and resources dedicated to Operation Phalanx, the Lone Star State has committed nearly $1.7 billion in taxpayer funds to border enforcement since 2005.

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to appoint more robust leadership at DHS, so Operation Phalanx could be back in business by January.

Kenric Ward writes for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Contact him atkward@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @Kenricward.


6 thoughts on “DHS shuts down aerial surveillance on border

  1. Not to mention treason by the “highest office” people life in a god damn fairy fantasy land. This is blatant treason to the constitution. And people are trashing they’re own communities in “protest” because they want a fuggin flood on diseased, uneducated low wage workers for what ??!?!? We are living in insanity.

  2. This latest act isn’t anything new. It’s another blatant and obvious act to bring a ‘Trojan horse’ into our lands to cause chaos and mayhem.
    This is not being done in a vacuum! If we had an unbiased main stream media reporting, the people would be able to contest or not.
    Never the less, at the end of the day, the well armed and defiant true Patriots here are capable to defend ourselves, our families etc. and we will!
    As a top Japanese Military man stated regarding putting Japanese military boots on the ground here said, we won’t win that, because there will be a gun behind every blade of grass.
    Those who illegally come here know that they are doing an illegal act. The militant faction of these people obviously have evil intentions.
    If the PTB shut down the financial system, it will equate to an unorganized army/flood of people/mercenaries, whose supply is cut off!
    So I don’t think the PTB will crash our economical system.
    Mercenaries don’t work without pay. This will eventually come down to Patriots fighting for values our enemies don’t have.
    We are courageous fighters and they are not.
    They eat their own and will kill each other off.
    The PTB want us to riot. They are being frustrated because now, their plans which have worked in the past to initiate this reaction isn’t taking place.
    In this sense, it’s past too late for them. It’s a fool me once, fool me twice thing.
    Their past programs worked for them all over the world. BUT! THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG, and more and more and more people are awake and being awakened everyday.
    ‘Everybody knows the Capton Lied.’
    They were able to run everything under their cloaks for a long time. But, today, the villagers are looking straight at this Frankenstein (sounds jewish to me) monster and for the ones who created these monsters, there will be no where to hide.
    Lastly, since these evil bastards have gotten away with doing their evil deeds over and over again and succeeded, they have become ignorant, lazy and complacent.
    Unlike us, they are out of control and can’t and won’t adjust what they could do to keep the scam going. I guess they think that they are unbeatable.
    All true power is in the Hands of the Creator. He created mankind and everything else and when the created thing fights against the Creator it’s a non-sequitur.
    As I see what’s going on from His perspective, He is putting people on the evil side and those sitting on the fence to make their own decisions about who they will serve and I’m thankful for that. Because, each one’s actions will testify for and or against them as to who they are.

  3. This POtuS better pardon himself or move to a country without an extradition treaty w/US. He is lawless and the wimpy congress won’t do anything. Maybe the next AG will.

  4. This is great news.
    That means the price of drugs should go down.
    I can feel it already.
    We are gonna make America great again.
    Even if we have to kill you.
    But don’t take it personal.
    It’s just business.
    I guess this is a last border free for all for that Ratt Bassturd…..Barry before he goes and works for the U.N.
    I predict he will be living in NY….shortly.

  5. “Our country has immigration laws the Obama administration would rather not enforce. Shutting down means of tracking illegal entry is a malicious move to make Trump’s plans to actually enforce our laws more difficult.”

    Umm…try TREASON!

    He should be arrested and hung!


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