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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Bill Nelson files amendment to immigration bill to add more drones -- based in Florida



Fearing drug smugglers could turn to Florida under a dramatic security buildup on the southern border, Sen. Bill Nelson has filed an amendment to the immigration bill to add more drones, which would be based at Cape Canaveral.

If the immigration bill passes "that could be a meaningless victory because smugglers and traffickers will just move their operations to the Gulf coast states," Nelson's office said Friday.

“You can’t dam a river by blocking only a part of it,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s amendment calls for a "dramatic increase" in the number of unmanned drones that would be flying out of Cape Canaveral to spot drug smugglers and human trafficking operations trying to gain illegal entry along the coastlines.

Nelson said Senate leaders want to add his provision to a larger package of amendments that will be rolled into the bill.

"If Nelson’s amendment ultimately gets a thumbs up next week, it could have a significant impact for the central Florida area, where unmanned aerial vehicles are already flying out of Cape Canaveral to monitor smuggling and trafficking routes off Florida’s east coast," Nelson's office said.

[Last modified: Friday, June 21, 2013 6:27pm]


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