Last year, about 1.1 million people were arrested crossing the border illegally from Mexico, more than a third of them through the heavily trafficked desert corridor south of Tucson, Arizona.
The Border Patrol said the system, which is being built by aerospace giant Boeing under a contract estimated at some $2 billion, is a necessary step to close the border to illegal entrants and allow agents to promptly identify and capture illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.
Information captured by the towers -- including live images giving GPS locations of any intruders -- will be streamed live via satellite from command centers in Tucson and Sells to Border Patrol agents with laptops patrolling nearby.
Eventually it will be integrated into a wider network, including a fleet of Predator B unmanned surveillance drones.
"We need to have eyes on what's happening here," said Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman Jesus Rodriguez. "We are not placing the town under surveillance, but we wi
U.S. town opposes "Big Brother" Mexico border fence
ARIVACA, Arizona (Reuters) - A pilot project to place a high-tech network of surveillance towers along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border has met boisterous opposition in this Arizona town, where some residents call it "Big Brother."
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is installing a network of nine towers with ground radar and night vision cameras to monitor a 28-mile (45-km) stretch of border near Arivaca, southwest of Tucson.
It is the first trial for the communications and technology arm of the government's Secure Border Initiative announced in 2005. Dubbed "SBInet," authorities say it will be extended across some 6,000 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders in segments in coming years.
The Border Patrol said the system, which is being built by aerospace giant Boeing under a contract estimated at some $2 billion,
it will be integrated into a wider network, including a fleet of Predator B unmanned surveillance drones.