06/02/2006

Texas plans to install security cameras along U.S.-Mexico border

By APRIL CASTRO
Associated Press Writer

SAN ANTONIO- Texas plans to install security cameras with night vision along some of the most isolated and dangerous stretches of the Mexican border to monitor illegal immigration and drug trafficking, Gov. Rick Perry said.

The $5 million (euro3.9 million) project will send the images to state, local and federal authorities, Perry said Thursday. The images also will be posted on the Internet in real time, and if citizens see a crime, they can call an 800 number to report it.

"I look at this as not different from the neighborhood watches we have had in our communities for years and years," Perry said.

The effort is part of a border security initiative that Perry launched Thursday, saying the state must step up efforts in response to inactivity by the federal government. On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Texas would receive a 30 percent cut in counterterrorism funding.

The governor said he will allocate $20 million (euro15.6 million) in this two-year budget cycle to continue Operation Rio Grande, an ongoing border security plan. That money will pay for officer overtime and equipment such as body armor, four-wheel drive vehicles and night-vision goggles. He plans to ask state lawmakers next year to authorize $100 million (euro78 million) more for the operation.

Also Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Charles Rodriguez, adjutant general of the Texas Military Forces, said he expects National Guard troops to be on the border this month. The troops are part of President George W. Bush's plan to dispatch up to 6,000 National Guard members to states bordering Mexico to support the Border Patrol and help stem the flow of illegal immigrants across the border.

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