The Huffington Post said in January that during the first five years of Barack Obama’s drone program overseas, there were approximately 2,400 people killed.

Now the White House is asking for nearly $40 million in funding from Congress to unleash a beefed-up drone surveillance program over the U.S. border with Mexico.

The targets would be, according to a report from DefenseOne, which delivers analysis of events relating to U.S. defense and national security, drug smugglers and human traffickers.

The report said the aerial surveillance also would let the U.S. assemble a systematic effort to take care of “an urgent humanitarian situation.”

The funding would allow for an estimated 16,500 additional drone flight hours, and another 16 crews to hunt down criminals and halt illegal activity.

The funding request was part of the $3.7 billion that the Obama White House has asked Congress to provide to address the crisis of tens of thousands of illegal aliens arriving on U.S. soil and turning themselves over to federal authorities to obtain housing, food, medical assistance and more.

Many of the illegal aliens, which the United Nations suddenly has started describing as “refugees,” are children.

Critics of the president say they are being delivered by traffickers who are paid to move the children from Central America to the U.S. because of the understanding there that, once in America, the children will be eligible for many benefits and face few punishments.

The report said the drones, however, would not be used to hunt for illegal aliens moving into the U.S. Instead the targets would be smugglers and traffickers.

“The funding would support a sustained border security surge through enhanced domestic enforcement, including air surveillance,” Obama’s letter to House Speaker John Boehner explained.

The overall funding also is to pay for housing and food, judges to assemble deportation hearings and many more costs brought on by the surge of tens of thousands of illegal aliens.

The Border Patrol already has a fleet of drones, but they flew only about 4,000 hours in 2012, according to federal calculations, when the total flight time could have been nearly 11,000 hours.

In 2013, the hours rose to 5,100.

DefenseOne also reported that in a separate request Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly of the U.S. Southern Command was asking for more funding for drones to fight the stream of illegal drugs and weapons coming from Central America.

He blamed the problem on the “near collapse” of societies there, and said that’s a danger to the U.S.

At the same time, the Washington Times reported the Pentagon was working on a plan to deal with the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, by sending in drones.

Defense officials said details still were under review.

Obama has made prolific use of drones while in office, mostly to attack those he determines are terrorists in the Middle East and Pakistan.

A report from the U.K.-based nonprofit called the Bureau of Investigative Journalism said the death toll for Obama-ordered drone attacks on designated terrorists and civilian populations in the Middle East over the five years at 2,400.

“In Pakistan alone, TBIJ estimates, between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children, have been killed.”

USA Today has reported that Obama also wants $5 million to buy ads in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that will try to discourage parents from sending their children to the U.S.

Also requested is $45 million to hire 40 judges and support staff to handle deportation cases, $15 million for legal representation for kids, and nearly $880 million for “detention and removal of apprehended undocumented adults traveling with children, expansion of alternatives to detention programs for these individuals, and additional prosecution capacity for adults with children who cross the border unlawfully.”

The federal Health and Human Services agency would get $1.8 billion of the total, and Immigration Customs Enforcement another $1.1 billion.

Related commentary:

“Feds planned for alien detention camps years ago” by Jason Kissner

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