Skip to main content

Arizona Introduces Advanced Surveillance Technology on the Mexican Border

Immigration authorities have erected 23 towers outfitted with radar and powerful cameras across the Arizona-Mexico border, the Los Angeles Times reports. The cameras will be used to scan hundreds of square miles in search of people attempting to cross the border.

Ranging from 80 to 100 feet tall, these so-called Integrated Fixed Towers are part of Border Patrol's latest attempt to create a stricter border with Mexico. The Los Angeles Times reports that experts consider these towers effective enough to "expand to other remote border areas with flat or rolling terrain."

The Department of Homeland Security announced on March 1st, 2016, in a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing that Integrated Fixed Towers "automatically detect and track items of interest," which increases Border Patrol's ability to "detect, identify, classify, and track illicit activity."

The towers, however, are not foolproof. Especially on rugged terrain, migrants can conceal themselves behind gullies and dips in the Earth where the cameras cannot reach them.

Arizona's technology-driven approach to border security clashes with President Donald Trump's vision of a "giant wall" that he says will stop migrants and illicit drugs from crossing the border. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Trump administration's 2019 budget request included $1.6 billion for wall funding, but only $200 million for technology improvements along the border.