Skip to comments.Unmanned drones spark controversy
Posted on 08/20/2003 1:01:05 AM PDT by sarcasm
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security is considering the use of unmanned drones along U.S. borders to find illegal immigrants, but a citizen group is beating them to the punch.
The group, American Border Patrol, has bought and souped up three large model airplanes with cameras and night vision equipment and will begin patrolling in two weeks. It has also set up radio sensors along a stretch of the Texas-Arizona border to help guide the drones.
"We're ready to go," said Glenn Spencer, who leads and mostly finances the group in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
The group's goal is to eventually monitor the entire Southern border and post numbers of illegal aliens missed by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, on the Internet or on television every day, he said.
The group's Web site recently featured a story congratulating its mascot -- a 10-month-old German shepard -- for finding its first "suspected border intruders." The dog had located 37 immigrants and the men were later apprehended by federal officials, the site said.
Immigrant advocates say the citizen patrols are vigilante mobs motivated by xenophobia and racism.
The Border Action Network, an immigrant advocate group, has launched a campaign to find Mexicans and other immigrants who have been mistreated by citizen border patrol groups while trying to enter the United States illegally. The idea behind the effort is to help the immigrants file civil cases against the groups.
"Enough is enough," said Gustavo Lozano, a member of the network, at the campaign's launch earlier this year. "These groups have hunted Mexicans and other immigrants with dogs, guns and high-tech surveillance equipment. We've heard reports of beatings, deaths and other abuses."
Spencer said that American Border Patrol is not a vigilante organization. The group simply spots illegal immigrants and calls the authorities with the location, he said.
Mario Villarreal, a spokesman for the bureau, said his agency encourages citizens to report suspicious activity along the border. But Villarreal added that the government discourages private parties "from taking matters into their own hands."
Mcarthy could ! thats why they hated him so much !