U.S. Congressional Candidate (for the 3rd time) Bob Ries (TN-05) wants to “Militarize” our southern border. Sounds good at first? Not really when you look closer. Let’s discuss:
Bob Ries’s proposal is to have military pilots fly the borders watching for illegal immigrant crossings while they are supposed to be flying mandatory hours for what is called currency and proficiency ratings under FAA law. He claims it will cost nothing extra. What Bob Ries doesn't understand is that currency and proficiency is required for all pilots to keep them sharp, safe and protect people on the ground. As such they must be flown within specific criteria in order to be logged properly and in many cases under the eye of a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor). I know this because I'm a certified private pilot (current) with over 600 hours in my experimental aircraft. And by the way, this is true whether civilian or military.
Pilots must follow these FAA regulations and at times execute specific maneuvers. Some of these criteria are very specific and will NOT lend themselves to flying up and down the border with the pilot "unfocused" in order to spot poor women and children dog paddling across the Rio Grande.
Carrying people aloft is more expensive than a 12ft. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV-Drone) with infrared camera. The aircraft that carry people must provide all of the environmental implements for pilot/passenger comfort and safety, navigation, emergency equipment etc. This adds weight and increases cost compared to drones.
Pilot fatigue is another major limiting factor to Bob's daft suggestion, far more than drones that in some cases can remain aloft for 24 hours or more. Remote control pilots can easily trade out shifts in the comfort of the command center while the UAV remains in flight.
Bob Ries’s idea is ill-conceived, inefficient and seems like a “gung-ho” approach to problem solving. We should be working smarter and not harder.
“If fences don’t work then why is there one around the White House?” ~ Charles Krauthammer
Have you seen pictures of “the fence” at the border? In some places it’s not very well-constructed with corrugated metal panels fastened up to poles or beams. A crow-bar can be easily inserted and the metal pried open.
We put 12 ft. double fences with razor wire around prisons and they work just fine. Add motion detectors at the border fences divided into zones, build the fences where the topography allows and fly UAV’s over the areas where fences cannot be efficiently built. Fast response border patrol teams can deploy via helo or vehicles as needed. For the most part these are people on foot. National Guard in the short term to “triage” a crisis sure, that's what they are for but Bob Ries's "double-duty" idea is a little zany.
Root Cause of the border problem:
Ultimately the root of the problem is not finding ways to keep people out but removing the incentive for them to come. This is a policy issue pure and simple where our government for decades now has not enforced our law. This administration is doing it again, wholesale. The reason these illegal immigrants keep coming is they believe they can cross into the United States, stay here and then get away with it. In many more cases people come in legally on visas and then over stay those visas where they are then lost into the general population. Again, many in government have failed to enforce our law regardless of how these people got here. 12 million have done this so far providing incentive for millions more.