Credit: The Washington Post
This article will examine the motivations behind the US government’s significant investment in border surveillance equipment and how this impacts both migrants and the local population.
Investment in Monitoring Towers is Increasing
The US government has been investing heavily on surveillance technologies as a result of the ongoing problem at the southern border.
This $200 million project’s objective is to support border patrol agents in monitoring border crossings, preventing the illicit trafficking of people and drugs, and providing essential support in times of need.
These surveillance towers are part of a larger effort to create a virtual border wall.
The present count of 135 surveillance towers is projected to rise to 442 in the upcoming years, a tripled increase.
Various Forms of Surveillance Towers
The three main kinds of surveillance towers used along the border are autonomous surveillance towers, remote surveillance footage systems, and integrated fixed towers.
These towers are equipped with high-tech cameras, radar detectors, and lasers that may be used to identify people from far away.
Although they have a lesser range of 1.7 miles, the most recent autonomous surveillance towers are outfitted with motion-detecting radar and recognition AI, which enables picture processing without the need for human involvement.
Goals and Effectiveness are in Question
Despite the significant expenditure on monitoring towers, it is still unclear how well the programme is working and what its objectives are.
Dave Maass, the project’s principal investigator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), has not yet heard a clear explanation of the goal of the initiative. Is stopping border crossings, recording it, or intercepting it the aim? The solution is still evasive.
The agency’s reasoning for the program’s dramatic growth appears to be based on the perception of a border migration problem.
Impact on Migrants and Border Communities
Concerns about the monitoring network’s effects on migrants and border communities are raised by its expansion.
In a recent analysis, the ACLU of Texas demonstrated how real or perceived monitoring had a major impact on individuals’ mental health.
David Donatti, an attorney representing the group, claims that many people are frightened to go to significant locations like supermarkets, healthcare institutions, polling locations, and community centres because they don’t want to run into border patrol agents.
In conclusion, the US is spending a lot of money on border monitoring equipment even though its exact efficacy and objectives are still unknown.
Concerns about the effects on border towns and migrants intensify as the total number of towers rises.
It is critical to reexamine the necessity for such intrusive technology and look for alternatives that deal with the underlying issues with border control and immigration.
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