TribBlog: Send in the Drone

State lawmakers have long been clamoring for an unmanned drone to boost security on the border. On Wednesday they'll get their wish, as an unmanned drone begins patrolling the Texas skies.

State lawmakers have long been clamoring for an unmanned drone to boost security on the border. On Wednesday they'll get their wish, as an unmanned drone begins patrolling the Texas skies.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that the Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS, will begin its initial flight out of Corpus Christi and fill in the gaps left by drones that only patrol from California to West Texas.

“With the deployment of an UAS in Texas, DHS unmanned aerial capabilities will now cover the Southwest Border — from the El Centro Sector in California all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas — providing critical aerial surveillance assistance to personnel on the ground,” according to a statement released by her office.

Napolitano also noted that the government is close to completing the 652-mile fence Congress mandated for the Southwest border in 2006. The 646.5 miles already constructed includes 298.5 miles of vehicle barriers and 348 miles of pedestrian fence. The remainder should be in place before the end of the year, the statement says.

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