This just in via the Atlantic Wire: the land of the free and home of the brave, our great melting pot society, our immigrant safe haven, has declared war on immigrants. That is, the United States Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) has asked for permission to arm drones that patrol the U.S. border (a jurisdiction of 100 miles inland from all U.S. borders), though they are asking initially for non-lethal weaponry. Be afraid, everyone.
"A fact sheet provided by the agency notes the current capabilities of the aircraft, including electro-optical/infrared sensors and 'Surface Search Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator,' according to the Wire, but that's obviously not enough for a legit search-and-destroy mission. Why would we only want to deter, catch, and unnecessarily deport people who are following in the storied tradition of American nation-building when we can let loose with "non-lethal" weapons and go Top Gun on their trespassing asses?
What do drones flying missions over border areas look like? Excellent question. Check out this video from YouTube user MilitaryNotes:
The Electronic Freedom Frontier, whose Freedom of Information Act request resulted in the information being released, shows the request to weaponize was first made in 2010, and " is the first...heard of any federal agency proposing using weapons on drones flown domestically." They also note, with obvious shudder-inducing effect, that "CBP, without broader public discussion, consider[ing] this step — combined with the fact that the agency (with Congress’ blessing, if the immigration bill is approved (pdf, p. 92)) is planning to sharply increase the number of drones it flies — should cause serious concern for Americans."
An important thing to remember for all the Americans who support this sort of militarization at the border is the jurisdiction Immigration and Customs Enforcement has. It's not just a border situation. Their jurisdiction and range of activities goes inland, into the United States, from all borders, a full 100 miles. Do you live within 100 miles of a border? What's that, you're not sure? No problem, the ACLU has put together a handy map called the Constitution Free Zone of the United States:
So, happy fourth of July, everyone. When you looked to the skies for fireworks, here's hoping you didn't see drones raining hellfire down on you.
Wanna talk American border militarization? Follow me on twitter: @JohnathenDD