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DEL RIO, TX – The Biden Administration directed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday to issue a two-week ban all remote drones in the airspace over a Texas bridge that has served as a gathering place for thousands upon thousands of migrants seeking entry into the United States, preventing reporters from gathering footage of the dire situation.
Fox News reporter Bill Melugin announced the ban – which applied to the airspace over the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas – via a tweet on Thursday.
“We’ve learned that the FAA just implemented a two week TFR (Temporary Flight Restrictions) over the international bridge in Del Rio, TX, meaning we can no longer fly our FOX drone over it to show images of the thousands of migrants. FAA says ‘special security reason,’” he said.
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In a follow up tweet, Melugin noted that
“@FoxNews has been covering the border nonstop for almost 7 months now, we use the drone constantly, and it has never been an issue. We have reached out to the FAA to ask for clarification on why this TFR was implemented. We haven’t heard back yet. Will update if/when we do.”
However, as news of the ban began to spread, the FAA announced via Twitter on Friday afternoon that it had once again granted Fox clearance to fly drones in the “restricted airspace” in Texas once again. In addition, the agency stated that other news agencies could apply for clearance as well, leading to some to question why the airspace was restricted to begin with, including Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR).
“What a coincidence,” he said in a tweet. “The FAA better be ready to explain to Congress why they’re suddenly blocking the media from covering Biden’s border crisis.”
In response, the FAA issued a statement, saying that
“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.”
Currently, over 9,000 migrants are gathered at the bridge, awaiting arrest by Border Patrol for illegal entry into the United States so that they can be processed; the situation is reportedly “out of control” and border agents are said to be completely overwhelmed.
The U.S. is in the midst of a massive surge of migrants seeking to enter the country through the southern border; in August 2021, 208,887 migrants were encountered while attempting to cross the border, a 317 percent increase over August 2020.