Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, claims Mexican airplanes carrying hundreds of pounds of narcotics land on a nightly basis along the southern border of the United States despite $100 million sensor technology funded by taxpayers.
Susan Ferrechio, the Washington Examiner’s chief congressional correspondent, reported on these ultralight planes, which bring drugs into the United States at night and return back to Mexico.
Chaffetz told the Washington Examiner that the issue is one of many border security problems debated in Congress as the Gang of Eight drafts the immigration reform bill. He claims he learned about these home-built planes bringing drugs into the United States earlier this year, but he does not believe pouring more money into border security will stop them.
“These planes take off in Mexico with the drugs, go across the border and drop them off and then the ultralight lands back in Mexico," Chaffetz told The Examiner. "We are fairly inept at dealing with them.”
Chaffetz, who visited border areas in Arizona and Mexico this year, said border patrol agents told him sensors are not helping them to catch microlight planes.
But if the border is so insecure, why is border security getting a glowing review before the House? Border security officials testified Thursday before the House Oversight subcommittee, headed by Chaffetz, that President Barack Obama’s administration has made great strides in securing the border.
Michael Fisher, chief of the Border Patrol, and David Murphy, acting assistant commissioner of Customs and Border Protection for field operations, told the subcommittee on national security that the rate of seizures are up and apprehensions are down 50 percent since 2008. They testified that the CBP seized 71 percent more curreny, 39 percent more drugs and 189 percent more weapons on the border in comparison to 2008.
“This deployment of resources over the past 10 years has, by every traditional measure, led to unprecedented success,” they testified.
Despite the reported decline in apprehensions, Chaffetz claims there is an influx of illegal immigrants crossing the border. Many of them are “OTM” or Other Than Mexican. A large number of immigrants are reportedly from Central and South America.
While Chaffetz says money will not solve these issues, border security officials testified that “with the support of Congress, CBP has made significant progress in securing the borders through a multi-layered approach using a variety of tools at our disposal.”