In Awe of the Advanced Surveillance Technologies Operating in the U.S. International Borders

A journal published by a pair of hikers who had walked the entire length of the US Mexico Border in a span of 175 days, made us curious how border patrol agents are able to effectively keep watch over the long stretch. The hikers’ journal narrate of instances when they chance upon border patrol agents arriving, and thereafter successfully apprehending people attempting to cross a particular area of the border for one illegal purpose or another.

We made an independent research of technologies present in the US Mexico Border, to give us an idea of how agents can immediately pinpoint areas where illegal activities may be taking place. What we learned after is that awesome advanced technologies exist around the entire U.S. international border to help border patrols detect and prevent illegal immigration and smuggling of contraband.

A complex network of surveillance systems provide data about the current situation throughout the 6,000 miles spanning the U.S. Mexico and U.S. Canada land borders. Not to leave out the technologies supporting the Air and Marine Operations of border patrols in the 2000 miles of international coastal waters surrounding the Florida Peninsula and the island of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated U.S. territory.

The Integrated Fixed Tower System (IFT)

The IFT is a border security solution that renders 24/7 surveillance using tower-mounted radars and cameras. The tower-mounted surveillance equipment are connected to a communications network located at the control and command center of every Border Patrol Station.

Running on a security system deployed by Elbit Systems of America, the program keeps the country and the U.S. Border Patrol Agents safe. The sensor towers furnish data and images to border patrol stations as means of maintaining a high level of situational awareness along the entire stretch of the international borders.

Part of the surveillance program is the Visual Detection and Ranging (VIDAR) system, which makes use of electro-optics enhanced with infrared capability. The VIDAR allows surveillance functionality at night and low-light conditions. More importantly, the VIDAR can detect suspicious activities for both manned and unmanned security platforms, such as the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), better known as drones.