Texas Governor Rick Perry has come up with what is now the second weirdest immigration proposal I’ve heard so far: using webcams to police the border.
Eyes of Texas to be on border
Impatient with feds, Perry says state will install Web cameras public can view
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
Irked by what he called federal “inaction” on border security, Gov. Rick Perry unveiled state plans to install hundreds of video surveillance cameras along the Rio Grande to allow anyone with Internet access to witness and report suspicious activity as it occurs.
“I look at this as no different than the neighborhood watches that we’ve had in our communities for years and years,” the governor said Thursday.
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In making the announcement, Perry sought to distance himself from President Bush on the immigration controversy and align himself instead with delegates to the Texas Republican Convention, which begins today amid anger about the president’s handling of the issue.
Perry said he’ll tap $5 million from his office’s funds to establish the “Virtual Border Watch Program” throughout the state’s 1,200-mile frontage on the Rio Grande.
The video will be available on the Web in real time and cameras will have night vision capability. People who witness suspicious actions, including crossings, will be able to call a toll-free number to report it to the authorities.
The move comes as the Pentagon prepares to deploy about 6,000 National Guard troops to bolster U.S. Border Patrol operations. But Perry said he was disappointed that homeland defense funding for Texas recently was cut 31 percent despite intelligence that “al-Qaida views the southern border as a prime point of entry” into the U.S.
The camera plan could work well in his county, which includes Laredo, Flores said. Most of the land fronting the Rio Grande is in private hands, “so it’s difficult to come in and say, ‘We’re going to build a wall on your property.’ Ranchers depend on the water for their cattle or irrigation. It’s more complicated than what people think — or what the bureaucrats in Washington think,” he said.