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CNN Today

U.S. Border Patrol Steps Up Security with Help of Technology

Aired January 14, 2000 - 2:33 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Border patrol agents are stepping up security checks with the help of new technology.

CNN's Frank Buckley tells us more about what they're doing and using to stop the wave of immigrant smuggling.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The gap in the trees on the other side of the lake is the U.S.-Canada border. Border Patrol agents call the clear-cut area of forest "the slash."

But along the dusty roads nearby, the border boundaries are not always as clear cut. White markers like these are often the only indication of where one country ends and another begins. And there are 4,000 miles of border between the U.S. and Canada.

MARK HENRY, U.S. BORDER PATROL: Well, we've got 261 miles of border in Swanton sector.

BUCKLEY: Mark Henry is the assistant chief patrol agent along this portion of the border in Vermont, which can be rugged, cold terrain.

HENRY: It's difficult in some areas, with the mountains and the woods, for people to cross the border. On the other hand, it makes it difficult for us to patrol the border.

BUCKLEY: A border patrolled by 309 agents. That's the entire U.S.-Canadian border, patrolled by 309 agents.

(on camera): Because agents cannot be at every location along the border, the Border Patrol uses technology to help. At remote locations like this one, for example, cameras are set up to capture the image of every person crossing the border.

(voice-over): Unmanned border crossings are not unwatched. At this communications center, images from different cameras show different locations along the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a southbound entry at 644.

BUCKLEY: Some cameras are turned on by sensors that pick up heat or vibration. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're in back of that building and they're crouching down. They ran down a little hill.

BUCKLEY: Cameras can be controlled from the center to guide agents in for apprehensions when someone crosses in illegally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we got them.

BUCKLEY: Border Patrol officials say, among those arrested, people have traveled from Latin American countries to Canada before attempting to enter the U.S.

HENRY: Last year, we arrested people from about a hundred different countries that crosses the border here in our area.

BUCKLEY: But the number of arrests made along the northern border of the U.S., 11,000, pales in comparison to the 1.5 million made to the south where 7,700 agents patrol the border.

Border Patrol officials beefed up staffing along the U.S.-Canada border following the arrest of a man allegedly bringing explosives into the U.S., but they say more agents are needed to guard against the illegal intrusions into the U.S. along its northern border that occur every day.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Swanton, Vermont.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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