Update (1100ET): Republican South Carolina Sen. John Kennedy said Friday that the FAA's grounding of all drones near that Texas bridge is fulfilling the Biden administration’s goal to hide the “lunacy” of its “open border” policy.
“I believe that the reason that they’re limiting drone usage is because they don’t want the American public to know, and I think this is illegal,” Kennedy told “Fox & Friends.”
“I’m sure that some are people who want to come to America for a better life. That’s fine. I’m proud of that, but that’s why we have a legal immigration system,” Kennedy continued, claiming that many of the migrants trying to enter the U.S. are criminals, child predators, drug dealers and terrorists.
“The idea of saying that anybody who wants to come in can come in is lunacy and the American people don’t support it, which is why I think the Biden administration is preventing the usage of the drones.”
The senator insisted “we now have an open border policy … The nut jobs are in charge in the Biden administration.”
The Border Patrol denied that grounding the drones has anything to do with news gathering and said that it “requested the temporary flight restriction due to drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border."
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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a no-fly zone for unmanned aircraft systems flying over a south Texas bridge after photos emerged showing thousands of illegal immigrants accumulating under it in recent days.
Images captured by The Epoch Times this week showed thousands of illegal immigrants congregating under the Del Rio Bridge in south Texas as they waited to be processed by Border Patrol.
Border Crisis: After exposing the massive explosion in illegal border crossings in the last 24-hours with their overhead drone, the FAA steps in to ban Fox News from flying. pic.twitter.com/D1lnSfnyET— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) September 17, 2021
Some 9,000 illegal immigrants, including Haitian, Cuban, and Venezuelan nationals, were in the area, Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez confirmed.
The FAA issued the notice on Sept. 16 announcing that temporary flight restrictions were in place preventing all unmanned aircraft, such as drones, from flying over the area until Sept. 30, citing “special security reasons.”
As per the notice, the Department of Defense (DOD), Homeland security (DHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) may take action against anyone who does not comply with the temporary ban, including destruction of unmanned aircraft if it is deemed to post a credible safety or security threat.
The ban prevents local and international media from capturing aerial footage and imagery showing conditions at the site. However, those with official airspace waivers as well as law enforcement and those flying over the area on disaster support missions are exempt.
Thousands of illegal immigrants amass in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 16, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
In a statement to Fox News, the FAA said the no-fly zone ban was imposed at the request of the U.S. Border Patrol but noted that media can make a request for an exemption.
“The Border Patrol requested the temporary flight restriction due to drones interfering with law enforcement flights on the border. As with any temporary flight restriction, media is able to call the FAA to make requests to operate in the area,” the FAA said.
It comes amid a surge of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the United States in recent months, which has left Border Patrol agents overwhelmed and struggling to process the sheer volume of people, particularly those who arrived in the area at the bridge.
Border Patrol agents detain illegal immigrants who have just crossed into the United States from Mexico under the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 14, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to “maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”
Abbott also took aim at President Joe Biden’s administration in its handling of the crisis, noting that it was in “complete disarray” and was dealing with the border situation “as badly as the evacuation from Afghanistan,” Abbott said in a statement.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), is currently on the ground in Del Rio and has been sharing footage from the site.
On Friday, he claimed there are currently 10,503 illegal aliens under the Del Rio International Bridge.
“This manmade disaster was caused by Joe Biden,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that the number of migrants had increased tenfold after the White House recently decided to cancel deportations back to Haiti.