Blimps help Border Patrol nab migrants crossing illegally

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NEAR MARFA, Texas (Border Report) — While traveling from the Marfa area to Alpine, Texas on Friday evening, our BorderReport.com team spotted a blimp used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to monitor illegal immigration.

According to a recently published article on CBP’s website, this is one of eight blimps used in the Tethered Aerostat Radar System, or TARS. These are tied to the ground and have the ability to float up and down.

“TARS is like a low-flying satellite system, but cheaper to launch and operate,” Richard Booth, director of domain operations and integration for CBP’s Office of Air and Marine explained in the article.

RELATED LINKS: It’s ‘a unity of effort’ searching for migrants in Big Bend, Border Patrol official says

According to CBP, no one mans the balloons. They serve as radars that allow agents to boost their surveillance range. Each TARS balloon contains a radar weighing about 2,200 pounds, capable of detecting aircraft at a range of 200 miles, according to CBP.

Border officials also say the balloons also serve as a visual deterrent to illegal activity both by air and ground.

You can click here for a breakdown of how these blimps have helped stop and crackdown on illegal immigration by air.

The other two blimps in Texas are located in the areas of Eagle Pass and Rio Grande City.

RELATED LINKS: A view from the top: Border Report tours with CBP’s Air and Marine Operations

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.

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