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Perry finds $3 million for border cameras

10:43 AM CST on Monday, November 19, 2007

Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas -- Gov. Rick Perry’s proposal to broadcast live video footage from the border over the Internet should be up and running again by January now that new funding has been secured, a spokeswoman said.

Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said the governor has found $3 million in federal grants to install about 200 mobile cameras along the Texas-Mexico border.

The cameras were pitched during Perry’s 2006 re-election campaign as a way for anyone via the Internet to become a border patroller and help root out border crime and illegal crossings.

A $200,000 test run that lasted about a month last year led authorities to 10 undocumented immigrants, one drug deal and one human smuggling route.

But earlier this year, lawmakers rejected Perry’s request for $5 million to restart the program and add more cameras.

“Lawmakers felt unanimous that immigration is a federal issue,” said state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso. “Why burden local and state taxpayers with a federal obligation?”

Castle, the Perry spokeswoman, said the new cameras will be installed in “strategic high-traffic areas along the border.” The system should be running by January, though it may be longer before to footage is available online, she added.

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