Countless proposals have been made at both the state and federal level in the past couple of years to address the problem of illegal immigration. Some politicians want to build a fence across our entire southern border. Yet other politicians advocate the idea of punishing employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. For obvious reasons, there is no state whose residents are more adamant about finding solutions than the state of Texas.
Last year, Texas Governor Rick Perry decided to harness the vigilante spirit that exists among some Texans and install video cameras along the southern border that could be monitored by watching camera feeds on a home computer. Unfortunately, it appears that our observation efforts have fallen quite short of expectations.
The state of Texas received a $2 million federal grant to install surveillance cameras along the U.S.-Mexico border, with objectives for the program being set by the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition. An investigation into the program was recently published, and the results are far from impressive. While the coalition hoped to make 1200 arrests in its first year as a result of citizen tips, there have only been three arrests in the first six months. They planned to install 200 cameras, which would constitute one camera for every six miles of border, but so far only thirteen cameras are up and operational, leaving 80 miles of border between each camera. With these numbers as evidence, the case that federal funds are being used effectively is a difficult one to make.
Despite these initial disappointments, Governor Perry remains committed to the program. As his spokeswoman, Katherine Cesinger, stated, he sees the camera as a way of "utilizing technology so you don't have to pay for an extra set of eyes." Opponents argue that Gov. Perry is simply trying to win favor with conservatives who have strong feelings about illegal immigration and needs to admit that the program has little to no effect on real border security.
At Bertolino LLP, we know that immigration law is a hot topic in Texas and we have San Antonio immigration attorneys who specialize in this controversial area of immigration law. We also have Austin immigration lawyers and Houston immigration attorneys who can assist. If you are facing charges of being in this country illegally (i.e., removal proceedings or deportation proceedings), or if you need help completing the paperwork that confirms your legal status, our immigration lawyers can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office to discuss your situation.