Texas has a problem. It is incumbent on the Lone Star State, along with New Mexico, Arizona, and California, to secure the nation’s southern border when federal resources fail. Of these states, Texas has the lion’s share — over 1,200 of the border’s total of nearly 2,000 miles. It is the most frequently crossed border in the world with nearly 350 million annual crossings. Protection of the border has become a political prize, with all sides claiming to have the answer, and the will, to get the job done. But Texans on the front line aren’t buying it. Take border cameras, for instance.
In Texas Governor Rick Perry’s 2006 run for re-election (Perry is the longest-running Texas governor ever, assuming the office when Governor George Bush resigned to become president in 2000), border security played a key role in his campaign. He promised an expensive and complex plan that included hundreds of additional surveillance cameras.
After several incarnations of Perry’s plan, the promised cameras didn’t materialize as expected. Fox News reported in October 2011 that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) introduced “a new high-tech, low-cost camera system [that] is helping to detect illegal immigrants." The report pictured a high-tech and very visible camera set-up, suggesting that the new system was comprised of such cameras, but also included a statement from Texas Ranger Chief Hank Whitman, “We can hide them [cameras] virtually anywhere. They are small, compact, but we move them consistently. There’s no sense trying to look for them because you’re not going to find them.”
Whitman’s remark, however, was inconsistent with the camera setup shown in the news report; the highly visible surveillance camera shown is not small, or compact, or hidden. It turns out that the cameras Whitman is referring to are not those represented, but simple wildlife cameras.
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