Iowa Senator Tom Harkin advocates the use of unmanned flying drones to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico, as opposed to trying to build a fence stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Harkin, a Democrat, says he opposes plans repeatedly being forwarded by Republicans to construct a near 2,000-mile-long fence.
“That’s going to cost a lot of money,” Harkin says. “It’s going to disrupt a lot of environmental concerns, animal migration concerns and it’s going to require a lot of upkeep, year after year.” Border security is one of the sticking points in the immigration bill before the U.S. Senate, though Harkin says compromises are being considered.
“This idea that somehow we’re going to build a fence all along our border with Mexico I’ve always said doesn’t make sense,” Harkin says. “There has to be some cost-benefit analysis as to what we’re willing to spend, how many military personnel we’re going to put down there, how many unmanned aerial vehicles we’re going to fly down there. Just what is the cost of that?”
Fence plans are varied and one estimate of the price tops $4-billion. Harkin says there are better alternatives to secure and patrol our nation’s southern border than a massive fence.
“The other ways, of course, are through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles which are relatively cheap to operate and which can cover great distances,” Harkin says. “People will say, ‘Yeah, but when people come across, then you can’t catch ’em.’ Well, no system is perfect.”
Harkin also says he’d support remote-control surveillance cameras mounted on towers along the border as another alternative. The director of the FBI admitted on Wednesday that the agency has been using drones to patrol both of America’s borders — with Mexico and Canada.