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Spending bill has $100 million for border surveillance tech

It'll fund remote surveillance and towers fitted with radar tech and cameras.

Laura Hautala Former Senior Writer
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Laura Hautala
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A drone manufactured by Elbit Systems is displayed at a trade show in 2016. The company has installed surveillance technology at the US Mexico border in Arizona.

Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images

Democrats have been pushing for a technological approach to border security. Now, the spending bill being considered by Congress contains $100 million to fund that approach.

The money is set aside for "technologies such as fixed towers, remote video surveillance systems, mobile surveillance capability on the northern border, and innovative towers," according to an explanatory statement from the US House Committee on Appropriations.

The bill has been approved by the Senate, and must be approved by the House and signed by President Donald Trump to become law. The White House said Thursday that the president plans to sign the bill.

The towers referred to in the memo are most likely sensor-covered structures that can detect movement from miles away with radar and infrared enhanced cameras. Security tech companies Anduril and Elbit Systems have installed similar tech-packed towers in Arizona.

The funding is in addition to $200 million left over from money earmarked in the 2018 spending bill, the statement says. Those funds can go toward unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones, as well as fiber optics cables that can detect ground movement.