New York: A fully automated border station will take over the US-Mexico crossings this month to ease the burden for human agents in-charge of securing the border.
The closed border crossing at Big Bend National Park in Texas is scheduled to become the first automated checkpoint between the US and Mexico when it reopens on January 28, according to Nextgov.
Computers at the USD 3.7 million station will scan citizenship documents and allow for live video interviews with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at a station in El Paso, Texas, 'TechNewsDaily' reported.
Similar border checkpoints already exist on the US-Canada border. The new Texas checkpoint is expected to free up human CBP agents so that they can spend more time patrolling rather than handling the more mundane border checkpoint activities.
US officials originally closed the crossing station at Big Bend National Park as a precaution after the September 11 attacks led to heightened security measures.
However, the Department of Homeland Security, National Park Service and White House agreed on reopening the newly-upgraded border crossing.
Human agents will use video camera surveillance to watch over the border crossing 24 hours a day. The CBP also has its own fleet of drones flying overhead to track down anyone who tries to sneak across the border without going through the checkpoint.
A former superintendent of Big Bend National Park was worried about the reopened crossing presenting a possible "back-door" to US soil.
The CBP, however, thought the presence of the legal checkpoint and its enhanced surveillance would boost security in addition to the usual patrols.
First Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 17:53