The Border Patrol’s Tethered Aerostat Radar System (also known as TARS or “eye in the sky”) is being dismantled, according to U.S. Rep Henry Cuellar. It costs $30 million per year to operate the blimps in South Texas, and it is being scrapped primarily to save money.
- The Associated Press reports that the Trump administration has added 60 surveillance cameras at the southern border throughout the pandemic, though fewer people are crossing the border. A spokesman for CBP states that the cameras are manned by the military and will be removed after the pandemic.
- The U.S. House passes the bipartisan Securing America’s Ports Act introduced by Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small. It proposes an increase in the scanning rates of vehicles entering the U.S. at land ports of entry with large-scale non-intrusive inspection (NII) systems to 100%. CPB uses NII systems to inspect the contents of vehicles without physically opening them. Torres Small says this will “stop more drugs from being trafficked…support the efforts of Port officers who are already stretched too thin…and stimulate cross border trade.”
- Civil liberty and digital privacy groups have addressed the dangers of the “virtual smart wall” proposed by the administration, with integrated facial recognition and drone technology. The groups worry it could “propel a state of perpetual surveillance that would infringe on the human rights of immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.” This comes after a 2019 report that a data analytics firm helped ICE target and arrest parents and other relatives of unaccompanied minors crossing the border.