The border between USA and Mexico captured in the town of Nogales, Arizona

US considers virtual fence against illegal immigrants

A US senator has proposed creating a ‘virtual fence’ based on latest technology to prevent drug smugglers and illegal migrants from entering the USA from Mexico.

The fence would consist of 300 watch towers covering the 563km border between Arizona and Mexico, each equipped with a radar and several cameras, putting an ‘extra eye on the ground’. According to the proposal put forward by Arizona state Senator Bob Worsley, everyone with an Internet connection would be able to monitor what’s happening in the area.

Worlsey’s proposal was passed by a US Senate committee on Monday, with some Republican lawmakers expressing concerns about the price and privacy.

Before the construction gets a go ahead, the project, expected to cost up to $30m (£18m), will have to get an approval of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

"People in my state don't trust what the federal government is telling us when it comes to border security," said Republican Worsley. "This is a way to verify what we're being told."

Worsley said he has already been in touch with a Utah company that produces such systems and that there are plans to erect a test unit at the state capital in a few weeks.

In January 2011, the Obama administration blocked a virtual fence project, which had come under criticism, in favour of other security measures. That project cost about $1bn (£0.6bn) and was designed to pull together video cameras, radar, sensors and other technologies to catch illegal immigrants and smugglers trying to cross the border.

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