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Mexican Border Security Goes High-Tech

It's a new approach to the crackdown. With border security and illegal immigration a major concern in the United States, the U.S. government is investing in a high technology plan to help secure America's southern border.

The concerns over illegal immigration to the United States are so widespread that the House of Representatives has passed a proposal to create a wall, more than 1,100 kilometers long, along part of the U.S. Mexican border.

The Senate is still debating that plan. Other controls on immigration are also being considered.

In addition, the government is trying new technology. Boeing, a major aerospace, defense, and aircraft contracting firm, is receiving $67 million to install a virtual high-tech fence along the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona.

Michael Chertoff heads the U.S. government's Department of Homeland Security. "What we are looking to build, is a virtual fence; a 21st century virtual fence,” he said. “To be sure, one that does involve old-fashioned fencing and tactical infrastructure, but also one that involves proven tools that have been used, not only in this country, but around the world."

Next spring Boeing will begin building a series of 550-meter towers, equipped with motion detectors, and ground-based cameras, as well as a radar system that can transmit images to border agents. The first towers are being built on a 45-kilometer stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border, considered the nation's busiest entry point for illegal immigrants.

Boeing's Jim Albaugh said, "What we have proposed is a tool kit of different technologies that we can work with D. H. S. [Department of Homeland Security] to come up with the optimal approach for solving the issues that we have at the borders."

Secretary Chertoff says Border Patrol agents and National Guardsmen have arrested 10,000 illegal immigrants in recent months, and the Boeing contract is the first in a series of high tech initiatives to further secure the border.