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Illegal immigration: Homeland Security to use drones along border

Illegal immigration is the target of a new Homeland Security project that will use unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to protect the southern border of the United States.

Illegal immigration crackdown: A Predator drone unmanned aerial vehicle takes off on a US Customs Border Patrol mission from Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Illegal immigration is the target of a new Homeland Security project that will use unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to protect the southern border of the United States.

Ross D. Franklin/AP/File

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The Homeland Security Department will use unmanned surveillance aircraft and other technological upgrades in its ongoing effort to protect the southern border of the United States.

The department said Wednesday it has obtained Federal Aviation Administration permission to operate unmanned planes along the Texas border and throughout the Gulf Coast region. Customs and Border Protection will base a surveillance drone at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas.

Homeland Security also said it is working with the Office of National Drug Control Policy on "Project Roadrunner," a license plate recognition system designed to seek out possible drug traffickers.

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And the department is collaborating with the Justice Department to improve information sharing between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.

In a speech at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, a Washington think tank, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also announced a new partnership with the Major Cities Chiefs Association. The agreement would allow non-border cities to provide more assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies that are on the border.

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