Apr 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump administration adds military cameras at U.S.-Mexico border

The Paso del Norte International Bridge.

The Paso del Norte International Bridge. Photo by Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration has been installing surveillance cameras on the U.S.-Mexico border because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents reviewed by AP.

Why it matters: It is adding the cameras, which are manned by manned by the military, even though fewer people appear to be crossing illegally.

  • The documents show that the Pentagon sent 60 mobile surveillance cameras and 540 soldiers to the border in April at the request of the Department of Homeland Security.

What they're saying: Matthew Dyman, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, told the AP that the Pentagon will remove the cameras after the pandemic is over.

  • He added that each person who crosses the border illegally "has the potential to be carrying the COVID-19 virus and puts American lives at risk."

The other side: "There is no evidence that suggests there are hordes of COVID-19 patients lined up along the border," David Shirk, an associate political science professor at University of San Diego, told the AP.

  • "And there is no evidence that COVID-19 is even contributing to a surge in people trying to cross the border."

The big picture: The cameras were deployed only days before President Trump issued an executive order pausing the issuance of green cards for 60 days, arguing it would limit competition for jobs.

Go deeper