Texas governor wants to turn computer users into border cops

first_imgEL PASO, Texas – The governor of Texas wants to turn all the world into a virtual posse. Rick Perry has announced a $5 million plan to install hundreds of night-vision cameras on private land along the Mexican border and put the live video on the Internet so anyone with a computer who spots illegal immigrants trying to slip across can report it on a toll-free hotline. “I look at this as not different from the neighborhood watches we have had in our communities for years and years,” Perry said. Some say it is a dangerous idea and a waste of money. The governor plans to pay for it all with grant money the state already has, and wants the first cameras in place within 30 days.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“This is just one of those half-baked ideas that people dream up to save money but have no practical applications,” said Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin. “We would be far better off to invest that money in Mexican small towns along the border so people wouldn’t have to emigrate.” The plan marks a political about-face for Perry, a Republican seeking re-election, who has long argued that security along the state’s 1,200-mile border with Mexico is strictly a federal responsibility. This week, he said cuts in federal homeland security funding, a rise in reports of border violence and the crossing of Mexican soldiers into Texas about two years ago have demonstrated that “Texas cannot wait for Washington, D.C., to act.” Under the plan, announced on the eve of the state GOP convention, cameras and other equipment would be supplied to willing landowners and placed along some of the most remote reaches of the border. The live video would be made available to law enforcement and anyone else with an Internet connection. Viewers would be able to call day or night to report anything that looks like trespassing, drug smuggling or something else suspicious. last_img

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