Mexico City, Mexico /
Given the imminent conclusion of Title 42 and the arrival of thousands of migrants at the US-Mexico border, The border patrol seeks to shield the area with artificial intelligence tools. It’s practically a virtual wall monitored remotely through autonomous watchtowers known as ASTs.
Although at first glance it seems that they are unmonitored areas, the most inhospitable regions also have a presence of the Border Patrol that it found in artificial intelligence the way to shield the border against irregular crossingseven more, now that the application of title 42 will conclude.
There are 290 along the entire border and only 15 in the El Paso sector, on the border between Texas and New Mexico where the numbers of irregular crossings have increased by 123%.
Known as autonomous watchtowers, these cameras with night vision and infrared detect movement in regions areas where there is a record of migrant crossings. Thanks to artificial intelligence, they recognize the movement of animals from the surrounding ranches and memorize it. The towers are mobile so their location varies conforms to the needs of the Border Patrol.
They have a range of up to 11 kilometers with 360-degree cameras and are also capable of classifying objects that are located 5 kilometers from the towers. According to the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), another 200 towers will be installed between 2023 and 2024 with artificial intelligence software for which 204 million dollars of the federal agency’s budget have been allocated.
But these towers not only help to capture the crossing of people, but also to saving lives of those stranded in the desert, ranches, or the Rio Grande where the conditions are very diverse but equally risky.
Agent Alex Jara from the Rio Grande Valley sector, responsible for the migrant rescue program, explained that the autonomous surveillance towers not only allow the detection of migrants for his arrest, also for his rescue when his life is at risk.
He explained that in the Rio Grande Valley area there are at least 48 rescue towers to help migrants who are at risk. In addition, 45 will be placed in the area to locate missing or even deceased persons.
In each of the towers there is a red button that a migrant at risk, usually lagged behindyou can request support for your rescue.
The Border Patrol agent explained that normally the groups of migrants who managed to cross the border wall or the Rio Grande they are abandoned by the smugglers and literally left to their fate in ranches where weather conditions or animals put their lives at risk. Even more so when they have already traveled long journeys without water.
“When they get to these points and touch the button we know there is someone who needs help”, explains Alex Jara. In addition to the towers, there are at least 550 plaques placed in the areas near the Rio Grande to warn of crossing dangers.
The numbers of encounters with migrants indicate that now the desert zone in Yuma is no longer one of the areas with the highest irregular traffic. Now it’s the El Paso area on the border with Ciudad Juárez, as well as the region of the Rio Grande where there is an increase and therefore, a reinforcement of border security that this week will be in check before the lifting of title 42.