Julian Aguilar
The Texas Tribune
January 22, 2014

Texas’ recent designation as one of six test states for a federal project that seeks to expand the use of drones is spotlighting how far apart border lawmakers are on using more unmanned aircraft for border security.

Some say adding more drones to border skies could deter people seeking to enter the country illegally or smuggle drugs and other contraband into the U.S. Others see the potential for accidents and an increase in unwarranted searches.

The Federal Aviation Administration last month selected Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi as one of its national test sites for drones, a designation advocates hope will lead to the creation of about 1,200 jobs in South Texas and contribute an estimated $260 million to the region’s economy over the next decade. It follows Congress’ passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which seeks to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into national airspace by 2015.

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