Senators’ Visit to the Southern Border stresses need for additional Detection Technology

02/15/2015 03:21 pm

The U.S. Southern Border has been a major security concern in recent years. This January, President Obama granted amnesty to over 2 million illegal immigrants and the subsequent increase of immigrants flooding areas throughout southern Texas and Arizona have exhausted and depleted current resources and personnel.  It is time for a change and to provide these agents with the necessary tools and equipment to effectively do their job. 

Illegal immigrants passing through our border use all types of strategies and tactical procedures to evade and escape detection. They walk, ride, swim or fly their way past border patrol checkpoints. One common method foreign nationals employ to escape detection is to get dropped off at a remote location and walk in the woods or desert 10 to 20 miles past a border patrol checkpoint,; on the other side a second vehicle is waiting to pick them up to bring them to their next location within the United States. These procedures have been difficult for CBP agents to track and detain immigrants who in the past have used ancient Native American Indian tracking techniques.  

Amidst the controversy this topic and area has garnered lately, three U.S. Senators visited some critical border sites just last week in order to, as Sen. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin stated, “…gain a greater understanding of the terrain, manpower, infrastructure, technology and challenges that we must address as we begin crafting legislation that will actually work”. Sen. Johnson, along with Sen. Ben Sasse and Sen. Tom Carper are part of a bipartisan delegation of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).  

Electro Optical Industries' Spynel series of infrared thermal cameras are specially equipped to tackle the many challenges this rural and inhospitable environment presents. These sensors take a high resolution, panoramic thermal image every second; detecting a change in heat and movement. The sensor has a human detection range of up to 8 km, and vehicle up to 15 km. Equipped with Cyclope, advanced motion detection software, an unlimited number of threats are automatically detected and tracked for real time actionable intelligence at any time of day and through any type of weather. The Spynel, previously deployed by the US Army in Afghanistan for forward operating base protection, has been one of the technologies utilized to help with border security. The Spynel is deployed to two different sites operated by U.S. Military contracted surveillance operators. The specific locations are classified but half of all illegal immigrants that cross into the US come through this valley known as RGV (Rio Grande Valley).   

While the Senators’ visit provided great insight into the depths of some of the issues Border Patrol agents and other authorities in charge of securing this area face, more stringent and comprehensive security measures, such as the Spynel system, could help in protecting many people’s lives on both sides of the border.