The U.S. Border At Night, Part 1
While much of the US / Mexico border is a dangerous place during
the day, it becomes a place of great violence
at night. Most illegal aliens cross the border at night. Most
of the ranch burglaries, assaults, and murders are perpetrated
along the border at night.
Because the US Border Patrol is underfunded, the Agents lack
the kinds of small vehicle mounted night vision equipment needed
to adequately perform their duties.
What our Agents do have are their years of training and their
instinct for survival. The Agents face drug smugglers, gang members
and even Mexican Army troops trying to cross into the U.S. Certain
gang members are trying to improve their lot within their gang
and try to murder Agents if for no other reason than to rise higher
in their gang structure. Those psychopaths actually stalk the
agents -- sneaking up on them from behind and attacking even in
In some places the Agents have their vehicles attacked with Molotov
One of the real problems with the present double or even triple
barrier system is that the agents can become trapped between the
barriers. It may be easier for the attackers to escape over the
fence than for the Agent to escape their attack. The nearest gate
-- for access or escape -- can be half a mile away or more.
Some portions of the US / Mexico border are patrolled by Agents
with sophisticated Forward Looking Infrared, or FLIR, night vision
equipment. This equipment does not use even faint starlight to
see but rather depends upon the actual body heat of the criminal.
It uses the difference between the temperature of the ground and
the temperature of the criminal to detect and then display an
In the certain urban and high traffic of the border there a few
camera towers which provide two FLIR cameras on each tower. One
camera will be mounted on a
"pan / tilt" base and scan east, and the other will
scan west. Many of these FLIR cameras are built by a single
The camera systems have been impemented with essentially a zero
time delay between image in the camera and image arriving at the
distant monitoring site. Each camera uses a dedicated datalink,
not the Internet.
Here you can see a camera tower with four cameras. Two of the
cameras are standard video and two are FLIR.
Along much of the un-fenced border the US Border Patrol can only
use commercial delivery trucks as a base for their equipment.
On the backs of those trucks they mount a simple lifting device
with the FLIR camera at the top. In operation the lifting device
will raise the camera twenty feet in the air where it can be panned
and tilted to scan the border for smugglers, and worse.