(RoyalPatriot.com )- A new rule will go into place soon that is meant to increase security and transparency at the U.S. southern border.
According to government documents and two government officials, the U.S. will soon require many border agents to put on body-worn cameras. This is a major change in approach to border operations, and could increase the oversight of the agents themselves.
Ultimately, the goal is to capture criminal activity at the border on camera as evidence.
The government recently undertook a study on how the body cameras could impact people’s privacy. After going through that process, the U.S. determined it would start rolling out the program before the end of the summer.
Agents in portions of New Mexico and Texas are expected to start wearing the body cameras first. Then, the program is expected to be rolled out to other areas such as the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Arizona, California and even Vermont.
This action is likely to be a welcome one for activists who are pro immigrant. They would welcome additional oversight of the agency that many have accused of having institutional racism and using excessive force against people crossing the border.
At the same time, the union that represents the border patrol agents is also supportive of the body cameras. They say that the cameras help in criminal investigations and also prove that the agents do indeed act professionally and up to standards when they’re out in the field.
In the end, then, it’s a win-win for all sides.
Some groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have called for the use of body cameras by border patrol agents for a while now. They say the cameras would bring accountability to the agency at a time when law enforcement agencies have faced criticism for fatal shootings over the last 10 years.
Even though the border patrol union is in favor of the body cameras, they also say the agents should be able to access the footage. This includes any time that an agent has been accused of doing something wrong.
As the president of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, said recently:
“There’s no way to erase the footage. There’s no way to doctor the footage. So, there’s no reason the agents shouldn’t have access.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is the parent agency of the Border Patrol, is actually America’s largest law enforcement agency. This will present quite the challenge to not only roll out the body camera program, but also collect, store and review all the video footage that’s captured.
According to the government’s privacy assessment, any recordings made by the body cameras that includes illegal activity, misconduct by an agent or use of force could be used as evidence in any investigation or potential prosecution.
It’s another large change at the U.S. border, which has experienced a huge surge in migrants ever since President Joe Biden entered the White House earlier this year.