Smugglers and undocumented immigrants attempting to sneak past Border Patrol agents en route to the United States will soon have to outwit a new surveillance tool that can scan open terrain for miles.
The Border Patrol on Wednesday unveiled a new mobile video surveillance system along the U.S.-Mexico border in California that can look into the mountains with infrared scopes in the day and at night.
“It’s game-changer for them,” said John Moulton, chief technology officer, surveillance, at supplier Benchmark Enterprises, of Angleton, Texas. “One agent who goes on patrol can multiply his vision many many miles.”
The camera systems are carried on Ford F-150 pickup trucks outfitted with surveillance towers. Five of the vehicles will be used by border agents along San Diego’s southern border beginning Friday.
The Border Patrol said it has arrested about 12,000 people attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally this year. The new monitoring system is expected to increase that number.
“We’re averaging 160 arrests per day in the San Diego sector, said Michael Scappechio, a Border Patrol supervisor, adding that with “the looming threat of the migrant caravan in Tijuana (Mexico) and more people potentially on the way, we need to make sure we’re prepared for that.”
President Trump has repeatedly called for the construction of a border wall to help stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. — though he dropped that demand in order to avoid a shutdown of the federal government in a last-minute stopgap spending bill Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a disabled U.S. Air Force veteran has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the proposed wall. As of Wednesday, the page raised more than $2 million toward a $1 billion goal.
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