Sen. Chuck Schumer on Border Security: ‘We Certainly Need More Drones’

By Penny Starr | April 23, 2013 | 3:43pm EDT

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) (AP Photo)

( Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a Senate Judiciary hearing on the Immigration Modernization Act, a bill he helped author, that visiting the U.S. southern border was a “revelation” and more drones were needed to secure it.

“Look, I went to the border,” Schumer said on Tuesday. “It was a revelation to me.” Schumer’s trip to Arizona was with Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, both of Arizona, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) – all part of the so-called “Gang of Eight” that unveiled the legislation last week.

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Describing the surveillance technology “amazing,” Schumer called for increasing the number of drones along the U.S. border with Mexico.

“If you use air – particularly drones – you can actually figure out where the people are going and get – force them, apprehend them 20, 30, 40, 50 miles inland,” Schumer said. “And the drones have the ability to follow that.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 23, 2013. ( Starr)

“We certainly need more drones. We need more air. The people on the border made that clear to us, and it should increase the effectiveness rate dramatically, in my opinion at least. Do you disagree?” Schumer asked the sole witness at the hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Napolitano responded to Schumer by referring to the “denominator,” or part of a mathematical formula DHS uses to measure the effectiveness of border security efforts.

“Well, I won’t disagree, and the technology, I think, as it’s implemented will give us more confidence in the denominator, which has always been one of the major problems in calculating the effectiveness,” Napolitano said.

The 844-page immigration bill will, as currently written, provide a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who are in the United States illegally.

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