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DHS Pumping Money into Drones for Domestic Surveillance, Hunting Immigrants and Seizing Pot

DHS has little to show for its drone spending spree other than stacks of seized marijuana and a few thousand immigrants who crossed the border without visas.

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UAVs are one more tool for us to stay steps ahead and leaps  above the threats that we face, and they can help deter and  prevent illegal activity and threats to terrorism against the United States. In the event of a National crisis, they will provide critical eyes in the sky for what we can't see or do from the ground.

DHS does not measure the progress and achievements of the program by the number of terrorists seized, drug lords and lieutenants captured, or “transnational criminal organizations” broken by its border security operations. 

Instead, border security programs  -- whether traditional patrolling, the border fence, the “virtual wall” of SBInet, traditional air surveillance, or unmanned aerial surveillance -- continue to be measured by traditional border-control benchmarks: how many immigrants are captured and how many pounds of illegal drugs are seized. 

It is a costly numbers game that has done little or nothing to resolve the country’s immigration policy challenges or the failures of its drug control policy. 

Tom Barry is the author of Border Wars (Boston Review Books). He blogs at