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Taking Back the Border

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1997
2 pages
This article describes technologies and initiatives designed to keep contraband materials and people from crossing into the Mexico/United States border.

Once called the “soccer field” because of the heavy traffic always assembled there, the Imperial Beach section near San Diego was once a notorious spot for Mexicans to sneak into the country. This 5-mile strip was a desirable place to cross into the United States because of its close proximity to San Diego, which offered transportation and hiding places. In an effort to control the illegal traffic across the border in this area, the U.S. Border Patrol initiated Operation Gatekeeper, which combined a new and rugged fence, new lighting, infrared cameras on patrol vehicles, ground sensors, and a sitting guard on duty. It was expected to take 3 years to noticeably reduce illegal traffic across the border; the initiative, however, was dramatically effective within 3 months of implementation. The U.S. Border Patrol has also teamed with the National Institute of Justice’s Border Research and Technology Center to develop other strategies and technologies for controlling border traffic. One technology in use by the U.S. Customs Service is a giant x-ray machine that scans tractor-trailers for the presence of people, narcotics, and other contraband materials. Contact information is provided.

Date Published: October 1, 1997