U.S. border ‘surge’ would place agent every 1,000 feet

U.S. Border Patrol agents patrol along the international border between Mexico and the United States near San Diego, California March 26, 2013. Picture taken March 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The 2,000-mile (3,200-km) boundary between the United States and Mexico would have enough border patrol agents to station one guard every 1,000 feet, under a compromise measure being considered by the U.S. Senate as part of an effort to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

It would also provide for the completion of 700 miles of fencing, observation towers, manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, radar and even seismic devices to prevent foreigners from illegally crossing the border, according to a description provided by a sponsor of the compromise.

The buildup of agents equipped with high-tech night-vision goggles, radar devices and electronic sensors was so reminiscent to some senators of past U.S. combat missions in Iraq that supporters openly boasted about the southwestern border “surge” – even as some civil liberties activists complained about border communities being turned into militarized zones.

The huge deployment is being proposed to try to assure Republicans that the border is secure under Senate legislation supported by President Barack Obama that would open a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

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