U.S. Customs and Border Protection still lacks tools, technologies and manpower, as well as a reliable way to assess the effectiveness of the equipment in use, since an inspector general’s audit by the Department of Homeland Security last year, Cronkite News reports. CBP has acquired just twenty eight percent of the new technology planned for border detections, despite receiving $743 million for such upgrades since 2017. “Shifting priorities, construction delays, a lack of available technology solutions, and funding constraints hindered CBP’s planned deployments,” the audit said. “Consequently, most Southwest Border Patrol sectors still rely predominantly on obsolete systems and infrastructure with limited capabilities.”
The audit also said CBP lacks technology for detecting tunnels and tunneling. Vacant positions in the agency make it difficult to use surveillance technology fully, as well as maintain IT systems and infrastructure. The report shows 1,324 hiring vacancies along the Southwest border. Numerous audit reports during the past few years have highlighted concerns with CBP’s ability to make sure that its information technology is supporting border missions, the audit said. A September 2020 audit said the CBP lacks a comprehensive strategy for acquiring and assessing what it calls “non-intrusive inspection” technology, which includes large-scale X-ray and gamma ray imaging systems, and portable and handheld technologies that are used to inspect cars, buses, trucks, sea containers and rail cars.