EL PASO -- President Bush yesterday watched border patrol techniques ranging from men on horseback to infrared cameras that help keep watch in the dark.
He said the country needs more of both to keep out illegal immigrants.
Bush made his visit to the Texas-Mexico border at the end of a two-day tour that was focused on his immigration plan, which he said would be among his top agenda items next year.
Bush has increased the number of border patrol agents since he became president, but he says he wants more funding.
The funds would pay for more agents, along with drone planes and other technology.
''If you look at the size of this border, you can't add enough agents," Bush said. ''What you've got to do is get technology in the hands of the agents so they can better do their job.
''Slowly, but surely," he added ''technology is being employed up and down the border, and that's a key part of our strategy."
Bush's goal is to catch more foreigners crossing the border while increasing the number of temporary work visas for those who will take jobs that Americans are unwilling to fill.
He is trying to appease social conservatives who take a hard line against immigrants and business leaders who want a cheap work force.
Congress has been divided on Bush's plan, and the issue has been stalled.
Bush's motorcade crept along about three miles of a dirt road next to the Rio Grande that divides El Paso from Juárez, Mexico. Through a chain-link fence he could see small homes along the Mexican side, while Border Patrol agents riding horseback, all-terrain vehicles, and sport utility vehicles lined the US side.
Above his limousine, he saw lights and cameras, set up to help the agents watch for people trying to sneak across.
Bush said that since 2001, the Border Patrol has caught 4.5 million people trying to get into the country illegally.
''It's important for national security, it's important for economic security, to have a good border security plan," Bush said at the end of his tour. ''And so what you're seeing is, you're seeing a combination of fencing, cameras, infrared, and border patrol agents all doing their job."
Bush combined the tour with a stop in Denver, where he spoke at a $450,000 luncheon fund-raiser for Representative Marilyn Musgrave, a Republican.