FAA grants network clearance after grounding drones that exposed thousands of migrants under Texas bridge

FAA grants network clearance after grounding drones that exposed thousands of migrants under Texas bridge
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Fox News has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration after the agency issued an order to ground any camera drones flying over a region in Texas for the next two weeks, as recent images showed thousands of migrants gathered under an international bridge to await processing.

The network "received clearance" to fly drones over the location despite the two-week restriction in Del Rio, Texas, ending a standoff in which Fox said it was temporarily restricted from flying drones over a region where thousands of migrants were seen huddled under an overpass.

"@FoxNews applied this morning and has received clearance to operate from now until the end of September in the restricted airspace linked below," the FAA tweeted, providing resources for any other news station seeking permission to fly drones in the region.


The restriction comes as Fox News National Correspondent Bill Melugin has displayed aerial drone footage of the rising numbers of migrants. Officials, including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano, have raised alarm bells about the growing migrant situation, with as many as 10,503 people reportedly gathering under the bridge.

"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 wrote in a statement to Melugin.

Later on Friday, local authorities reportedly offered to help journalists get aerial coverage of the migrant surge, usurping the FAA ban on media drones. Melugin said there were "lines of taxi cabs" dropping migrants off near the edge of the Rio Grande along the Mexico-Texas border, showing mostly Haitian immigrants walking along the dam wall to make their way underneath the international bridge.

"It is incredible to see this perspective up here. We hear the administration saying the border is closed. There's extreme progress being made. This doesn't look like a closed border ... This is hundreds of people streaming in ... Pretty remarkable footage," Melugin said, adding that it appeared there were not enough portable toilets for the mass of people seeking refuge under the bridge.

Melugin told Fox News's Tucker Carlson the timing for the FAA's restrictions seemed "curious," as many videos and images of the situation under the bridge in Del Rio went viral on Wednesday and Thursday.

"I just want to point out Fox News has been at the border for the better part of seven months now," Melugin told Carlson Thursday night after the FAA order. "We've been using the drone the entire time. It's never been an issue. All of a sudden, the last 24 hours, we start showing these images at this bridge, and a TFR goes up. We can no longer fly."

Cruz went to Del Rio on Thursday, saying that the growing number of migrants crowding under the bridge was unlike anything he had seen before. Multiple reports said a large number of migrants were Haitian, while others come from Latin American countries.

"The drone footage started this morning, and people across the country were horrified, and I guess the political operatives at the Biden White House saw that and decided the last thing they want is Fox News actually reporting on what's happening down here," Cruz said.

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday closed down six ports of entry with Mexico amid the surge of migrants crossing illegally into the United States. However, he reversed that an hour later, saying that President Joe Biden's administration changed course and refused to shut the crossings.

Customs and Border Protection told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that the bridge was being utilized as a purposeful shield from the heat as thousands of migrants seeking entry into the U.S. wait to be processed. However, CBP said many families will be "expelled under the CDC's Title 42 authority."

"Drinking water, towels, and portable toilets have been delivered for migrants to use while they await to be transported to a facility," CBP said, adding that "those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain will be placed in expedited removal proceedings."

The months of July and August saw records of migrant encounters at the southern border, with over 400,000 migrant encounters across both months, according to CBP. The agency has marked 1.5 million encounters for the fiscal year 2021.


The Washington Examiner contacted CBP and the FAA on Friday but did not immediately receive a response.

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Tags: News, Texas, Immigration, Technology, Joe Biden, Border Crisis, FAA, Drones, Foreign Policy, Media

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: FAA grants network clearance after grounding drones that exposed thousands of migrants under Texas bridge

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