Thanks to the addition of two more Predator B unmanned aircraft to the existing fleet, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is now conducting aerial patrols of virtually the entire U.S. Southwest border from California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The expanded Predator B flights, originating from Corpus Christy, Texas, are being flown courtesy of $600 million in new funding included in the recently passed Southwest border security bill. The bill also provided funds for the deployment of more Border Patrol agents, investigators and prosecutors in Southwest border states.
Joining the Predators and the Border Patrol agents, an additional 1,200 National Guard troops ordered to the Southwest border states by President Obama in July. Operating under the Posse Comitatus Act, the troops will act only in support of the Border Patrol, and state and local law enforcement officers.
According to the DHS, the whole package amounts to an "unprecedented investments in border security," that includes multiple high-tech remote surveillance systems and 646.5 miles of anti-personnel and vehicle fencing.