These are only some of the technologies used by USBP (for a comprehensive list take a look at this DHS report) for monitoring the border, most of which raise several safety concerns and have potentially negative implications. It is important that we understand that the further militarization of the border will not result in less unauthorized entries, but instead will lead to many more deaths and instances of abuse of power. A digital wall is an ineffective and costly measure that, while more sophisticated than previous ones, is ultimately much more intrusive, way less transparent, and extremely inaccurate.
Roberto Lopez, a community organizer from the Texas Civil Rights Project spoke to us and said that, from their work on the ground with folks from the RGV “We know […] that most residents do not want walls of any form. Mainstream attention has focused on physical concrete and steel walls, but technological walls and surveillance have been growing for years – without the same amount of attention from national groups. Companies are making billions off of surveilling border communities, backed by the politicians who receive their donations. We must fight back at every chance we can, because tech walls are just as if not more harmful than physical ones.” He believes people should follow the lead of organizations that work on shedding light on the issue of border militarization and develop informational resources, as well as authors that write about the topic: the #NoTechForICE campaign by Mijente provides resources to learn about the tech companies powering immigration and border enforcement agencies; Todd Miller writes about border militarization and has authored different works on the matter, including More than a Wall where he talks about the border-industrial complex; Other organizations that also work on raising awareness include Just Futures Law and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The use of monitoring, experimental, untested technologies in the border is detrimental to individuals’ well-being, and while we may not be able to fully avoid their deployment or being subject to them, we can learn and stay informed; we can take action by raising awareness amongst our peers, building supportive communities, and most importantly, always keeping our authorities accountable.