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March 5th, 2008
Rep. Grijalva Comment on Project 28 Hearing

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement regarding the recent hearing and update of Project 28 in Arivaca/Sasabe, AZ:

“This week Congress held a hearing regarding the virtual fence.  The hearing confirms the half baked approach of Homeland Security.  As we are aware in Southern Arizona, this project has been confusion from the beginning.

“The communities of Arivaca and Sasabe have seen first hand the lack of planning from its inception. There was no community consultation as to project design and location, minimal notice of the project’s inception, and inaccessible public meetings that made affected citizens’ input almost impossible.  .

“The community along the Arizona Mexico Border is aware of the need to ensure security however we know throwing money at border security will not solve the serious problem.

“Project 28 is the litmus test for the future of border security.  Unfortunately, Southern Arizona is a prime example of how to ignore community and not prioritize the region, landscape, and local needs into the designs and implementation.  

“The community was not the only one left of this process, according the Government Accountability Office the border patrol agents were left out of providing input for development and deployment of equipment.  The 28 miles impacts land that the Department of Interior has responsibility to preserve and conserve, consultation of their concerns are important to the success of the project.   

“Project 28, is 28 miles and cost $20 million, in addition it is 8 months off schedule for being operational.   This week we learned that Boeing received countless more millions to correct the errors of Project 28. 

“This community and border deserve comprehensive, border security contracts and proposals with accountability.  In addition, I remain committed that this virtual fence and other security proposals must include the local state, town, county and tribal governments to ensure that the best cost effective and optimal plan is put in place.

“Once again, the rush to do something has produced a delayed and costly product for the taxpayer.  I will urge real accountability to this project.”

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