A new app set to be released this year aims to exploit weaknesses in border security by pinpointing the location of agents, cameras, and sensors.
It will be like having the knowledge of a smuggler at your fingertips.
Bienvenidos (Spanish for “welcome”) is a phone application in development that, according to their website, aims to be the world’s first community-based navigation app for immigration.
With input from users, it can become a crowdsourcing tool used to find gaps in border security.
Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.
“That’s just silly,” said Border Patrol Union spokesman Chris Cabrera. “You’re encouraging people to commit a crime. You’re telling people what is the best way to sneak into our country.”
Cabrera sees flaws with this and similar app ideas, from untimely reports to bad cell reception and even unreliability of information, as some agents go undercover.
“I don’t think Border Patrol agents are going to be too concerned about it. I don’t think it’s going to work too well,” he said. “With Border Patrol agents, you’re not going to see these guys until they want to be seen.”
Although the Bienvenidos app website says it intends to help connect immigrants to one another, Cabrera warns that it could open the door and welcome other types of people.
“One in five people that we do catch coming into this country have a criminal record of some sort,” he noted.
If the app would only concentrate on locating missing or stranded migrants, Cabrera would be onboard.
The KENS 5 Border Team made several attempts to reach out to the developers of the app to get an idea of when the app would launch, but have yet to receive a response.
The website also lists future versions for six European countries including France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands.