The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a no-fly zone for unmanned aircraft systems flying over a south Texas bridge after photos emerged showing thousands of illegal immigrants accumulating under it in recent days.
Images captured by The Epoch Times this week showed thousands of illegal immigrants congregating under the Del Rio Bridge in south Texas as they waited to be processed by Border Patrol.
Some 9,000 illegal immigrants, including Haitian, Cuban, and Venezuelan nationals, were in the area, Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez confirmed.
The FAA issued the notice on Sept. 16 announcing that temporary flight restrictions were in place preventing all unmanned aircraft, such as drones, from flying over the area until Sept. 30, citing “special security reasons.”
As per the notice, the Department of Defense (DOD), Homeland security (DHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) may take action against anyone who does not comply with the temporary ban, including destruction of unmanned aircraft if it is deemed to post a credible safety or security threat.
The ban prevents local and international media from capturing aerial footage and imagery showing conditions at the site. However, those with official airspace waivers as well as law enforcement and those flying over the area on disaster support missions are exempt.
In a statement to Fox News, the FAA said the no-fly zone ban was imposed at the request of the U.S. Border Patrol but noted that media can make a request for an exemption.
“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 said.
It comes amid a surge of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the United States in recent months, which has left Border Patrol agents overwhelmed and struggling to process the sheer volume of people, particularly those who arrived in the area at the bridge.