Border Patrol. Representation Image.
Representational Image. Creative Commons

As the United States' border infrastructure continues to be strained by the surging amount of migrants arriving in the country -to the point that this week a port of entry in Lukeville, Arizona, was closed indefinitely to relocate resources- the government is trying a new, AI-based approach: building hundreds of surveillance towers to detect people trying to cross.

According to a new Axios report, even though there have been surveillance towers for several years now, the new technologies are better at detecting abnormal activity. They have 360-degree pan radars and sensors that can scan for miles and are equipped with software allowing them to distinguish between people and desert animals. They can also be programmed to skip private property.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit monitoring civil liberties in the digital world, reported the setting up of some 300 types of towers between California and Texas. Customs and Border Patrols have praised the towers, which have bipartisan support, and expect more to be built in the future.

Border security is dominating the United States' public agenda at the moment, as Republicans demand a series of hard line measures to support a wider aid package proposed by the government, which also includes funding for Israel and Ukraine in their respective wars.

As the impasse continues, President Biden has taken a more active role in the negotiations, saying he is willing to make "significant compromises on the border." "It's time to cut a deal that both sides can agree to," Biden's budget director, Shalanda Young, said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

U.S. President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border hit a daily record last Tuesday, as the amount of people making their way to the country continues to increase at a sustained pace. Concretely, there were over 12,000 encounters, according to a report by Fox News, which cited multiple Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources.

The outlet specified that over 10,200 of them were encounters of illegal immigrants coming between ports of entry, and that the record number is reached when combining it with encounters at CBP's Office of Field Operations at ports of entry.

The issue has become a focal point for voters, particularly Republicans, heading into the next presidential elections. A recent AP-NORC poll indicates that about half of U.S. adults prioritize increasing security at the U.S.-Mexico border.

However, there are voices within the Democratic party urging Biden not to cave. Two members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) said on Monday that they are "deeply concerned" about the possibility.

Senator Alex Padilla and Rep. Nanette Barragán, both from California, described the measures as ""trump-era immigration policies that Democrats fought so hard against -and that he himself campaigned against- in exchange for aid to our allies that Republicans already support."

The members of the HCH said that it is "unconscionable that the President would consider going back on his word to enact what amounts to a ban on asylum."

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