A 2005 GAO Report found that the effectiveness of a permanent internal checkpoint is not measurable, and its impact is not conclusive; it does not necessarily deter human or drug smuggling.
As most of the proposed permanent checkpoints are in 7th Congressional District, which include Yuma, Ajo, and north of Rio Rico, respectively, Rep. Grijalva has many concerns including the privacy of the community and the lack of consulting with local officials and the surrounding communities.
For any further questions, please contact Natalie Luna at (520) 622-6788.
July 18, 2007
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Secretary Chertoff,
I write to oppose the proposal to construct permanent checkpoints in the Tucson Sector. As you may know, most of the proposed permanent checkpoints are in my district, Yuma, Ajo, and north of Rio Rico, respectively.
A GAO Report done in July 2005 found that the effectiveness of a permanent internal checkpoint is not measurable, and its impact is not conclusive; it does not necessarily deter human or drug smuggling.
In the same report, GAO recommended that Customs and Border Protection implement performance measures to evaluate the productivity and effectiveness of checkpoints. It is my understanding that this recommendation has not been implemented. Current information that is reported speaks only to justifications for apprehensions and arrests. These strategies, however, do not incorporate an overall strategy. They do not attempt to measure the impact on local community traffic by those evading a permanent checkpoint; they lack an evaluation of man power and cost effectiveness; and they fail to consider the overall community impact.
As you are well aware, since 1999 Congress has provided direction to prohibit the installation of permanent checkpoints in Southern Arizona. The community has been in support of floating checkpoints. For Southern Arizonans, who cooperate daily with the border policies implemented regularly by your Department, it would be respectful and appropriate to incorporate their community needs when considering this and other border initiatives.
Community members and leaders have actively approached me regarding the permanent checkpoint. These communities are not adverse to security. However, they have seen the impact on their traffic and livelihood, and have witnessed firsthand the inability of the checkpoint to minimize unauthorized immigration.
I believe that you and I are in agreement that placing a permanent checkpoint will not stop unauthorized immigration. Rather, the approach requires a multi-level solution, which I believe should be obtained with comprehensive immigration reform. One that includes a means to deal with the immigrant population currently here, that provides for a safe and clear future flow of immigrants, and that includes humane and responsible border security.
I urge your office to fully engage the communities affected in the decision making and that no decision be made until GAO recommendations are addressed.
Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress