Border Patrol Agents Resort to High Tech Devices to Create a “Virtual Wall”

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Border Patrol agents and the federal government are now using high-tech devices to aid them in monitoring the overwhelming surge of migrants at the border. This is happening with the creation of a virtual wall using high-tech watchtowers. 

ASTs creates a radar that scans the surroundings for movements

High-tech towers, also known as Autonomous Surveillance Towers (ASTs), are now being utilized in various locations; this is happening across the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border to help Border Patrol agents monitor the movements of migrants. 


The ASTs are designed to detect movement and send real-time information to Border Patrol agents who are on duty watching the area. 

Border Patrol agent Joel Freeland stated that the ASTs were placed in remote locations that are difficult to reach. The devices are working 24 hours a day and seven days per week; they’re also powered by solar energy, making them environmentally friendly. 

According to data, the ASTs were first tested on the San Diego border back in 2018. Since then, the sector in El Paso has been using the device to watch over the most aggressive border crossing area. 

The Border Patrol agent likewise noted that most of the recent captures they had occurred with the help of the ASTs installed. At present, they located AST on high remote areas where the Mexican state of Chihuahua, New Mexico, and Texas meet.

The Border Patrol agents likewise stated they intend to install at least 140 units of ASTs to help create a “virtual” barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

High tech pieces of machinery are used in the most active places along the border

The ASTs work by creating a radar that scans the surroundings for movements. Once a movement is detected, the camera pans into the area where the movement happened. It then examines the footage to recognize the objects of interest, such as people or cars. 

The AST was designed by a 28-year-old Trump supporter named Palmer Luckey. Luckey is the founder and designer of Oculus VR.

He used to market the virtual towers for Anduril Industries which use a series of interconnected cameras and sensors. 

Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents are very thankful for the modern equipment that helps them monitor the movements of smuggler and illegal immigrants who usually takes advantage of the nights. 

Freeland added that before these high-tech monitoring scanners were installed, Border Patrol agents had to risk their lives with their trucks only to monitor a quarter of the border.

According to the founder and designer of ASTs, the system of scanners was first invented in his parents’ garage back then in his late teens. Then, he sold the company to Facebook in March 2014 for $2 billion. 

After selling the company to Facebook, he stayed with the company to work for them. However, he decided to leave the big tech giant after receiving backlash when he donated to a group supporting Trump.