(Part 13) GAO Presentation On Internal DHS Checkpoints

Part 13 of a 14 part video series highlighting a town hall meeting organized by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords appears above. The meeting was held on September 2, 2009 in Green Vally, Arizona to discuss/debate a recent GAO report on internal suspicionless homeland security checkpoints.

In this video, more audience members speak out against the existing checkpoint along I-19 and the permanent checkpoint being planned. Video highlights appear below:

  • A resident indicates that since checkpoint operations have increased, she now has to call the Border Patrol at least once a month regarding illegal aliens on her property whereas before it was maybe once a year. She indicates she’s actually chased illegal immigrants in the past with the Border Patrol on the line but no Border Patrol agents responded to the scene in a timely fashion despite the presence of the nearby checkpoint and roving patrols in the area.
  • Jim Brown from Tucson reiterates the common statement that the best place to secure the border is on the border, not miles to the North. He further indicates all Americans deserve the equal protection of the fedgov (not just those North of the closest checkpoint). He also asks about plans for small tactical outposts in remote areas as a way to interdict traffic attempting to avoid POE’s.
  • Chief Gilbert responds by stating checkpoints are just one component of a more comprehensive strategy and stationing agents in small camps in remote areas is currently in the works.
  • The next speaker asks about the legality of internal Border Patrol checkpoints and (incorrectly) states that sobriety checkpoints have been ruled unconstitutional. Agent Fitzpatrick responds by saying the Supreme Court has upheld immigration checkpoints within a reasonable distance of the border. The speaker asks what’s reasonable given that the checkpoint is practically located in their backyards.
  • The last speaker identifies herself as a Tubac homeowner who wants to know how checkpoints can be effective if all they do is verbally request someone to state their citizenship. She also wants to know how Mexico’s recent legalization of most drugs in non-trafficking quantities will affect things here and lambastes the GAO for indicating Tubac home values have been rising when the opposite is true.
  • Chief Gilbert indicates that checkpoint agents are trained to look for anything out of the ordinary and aren’t just relying upon the immigration question which prompts the speaker to ask whether or not terrorists are trained to say yes at these checkpoints. Gilbert counters by claiming if checkpoints weren’t effective the criminal element wouldn’t be attempting to circumvent them.
  • GAO representative Stana responds to the home value question by indicating there was some lag time between when the data was gathered and the publication of the report which explains the discrepancy.

This sums up part 13. Part 14 and final to follow shortly.

Links to all parts of this special report appear below: