Photo: Virtual technology helping border crossers
Technology is now being used to address the challenges of both crossing the border illegally and capturing those that are doing the crossing.
Since 2008, Border patrol has been using “crowd sourcing” to help patrol the border with virtual community watches using a network of cameras and sensors along the Texas-Mexico border. The cameras feed live streams of video where people logging into a website can directly monitor illegal aliens or any suspicious activity along the border.
The website describes itself as “an innovative real-time surveillance program designed to empower the public to proactively participate in fighting border crime.” Those willing to participate in the surveillance are called “Virtual Texas Deputies” and if enough people are reporting sightings a border patrol agent is deployed to the location.
Despite a $2 million investment by Governor Rick Perry the virtual surveillance has only resulted in three arrested thus far.
There is also a free GPS application called the “Transborder Immigrant Tool” that allows undocumented immigrants to see where they are in their journey to illegally cross the border and where there are resources like safe houses or water. The virtual geography shows new trails and potentially “safer routes ” to cross the border. This technology also appears to have limited successful with no known report of an undocumented immigrant using the app or at least admitting to it.