Computers to Take Over US-Mexico Border Crossing
Three CBP officers and a Border Patrol agent work together at the Calexico Port of Entry by searching automobiles and questioning drivers that are coming from Mexico into the U.S.
CREDIT: U.S. Customs and Border Protection | Josh Denmark
A fully automated border station could ease the burdens for human agents in charge of securing the U.S.-Mexican border crossings in 2013.
The closed border crossing at Big Bend National Park in Texas is scheduled to become the first automated checkpoint between the U.S. and Mexico when it reopens on Jan. 28, according to Nextgov. Computers at the $3.7 million station will scan citizenship documents and allow for live video interviews with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at a station in El Paso, Texas.
Similar border checkpoints already exist on the U.S.-Canada border. The new Texas checkpoint is expected to free up human CPB agents so that they can spend more time patrolling rather than handling the more mundane border checkpoint activities.
U.S. officials originally closed the crossing station at Big Bend National Park as a precaution after the Sept. 11 attacks led to heightened security measures. But the Department of Homeland Security, National Park Service and White House agreed on reopening the newly-upgraded border crossing.
Human agents will use video camera surveillance to watch over the border crossing 24 hours a day. And the CPB also has its own fleet of drones flying overhead to track down anyone who tries to sneak across the border without going through the checkpoint.
One former superintendent of Big Bend National Park worried about the reopened crossing presenting a possible "back-door" to U.S. soil. But the CPB thought the presence of the legal checkpoint and its enhanced surveillance would boost security in addition to the usual patrols.