Border business would boom with immigration bill - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Border business would boom with immigration bill

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Doug Thorpe has worked in the Valley for 30 years to develop practical uses for small unmanned aircraft.

The immigration bill passed in the U.S. Senate Thursday could be the vehicle for his business hopes to fly sky high.

Provisions of the more than 1,000-page bill include doubling the number of Customs and Border Patrol agents along the southern border and constructing more than 700 miles of new border fencing.

Drone aircraft would flood the skies over the Arizona-Mexico border if the Senate approved immigration bill is put into effect.

"The passage of this bill would be rocket fuel for the Arizona economy," said Glenn Hamer, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Hamer says the bill would provide an immediate economic spark and Arizona would boom like no other state in the country.

"I truly believe that Arizona within a decade will be, in most of the rankings, the most desirable place in the country to do business. People want to come and work here," said Hamer.

Doug Thorpe is hoping this bill will launch his business prospects by more widely distributing the technology he has developed.

That technology includes an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called the "SeeAll" which can be stored in a car trunk and deployed within minutes.

Thorpe is not dissuaded that the major defense contractors would reap many of the benefits of this $50 billion piece of legislation.

"The company that manufactures the Predator drone - they will be the beneficiary of the initial awards. And we recognize that," said Thorpe. "But we will be the second place. And we're happy to be in that position."

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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