Are the federal government’s border security measures just too inconvenient for Americans trying to use highways in areas heavily trafficked by illegal aliens?

That’s the contention of Jim Kouri, vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, who says a policy limiting the number and duration of temporary checkpoints has caused a reduction in the apprehension of illegals in Arizona.

Kouri says in a statement the people complaining that the checkpoints cause excess traffic congestion and “quality of life issues” are ” many of the same people who … are calling for more action to be taken against the onslaught of illegal aliens.”

Part of the Department of Homeland Security’s interior enforcement program is a series of checkpoints on major and secondary highways, mainly in the southwestern states bordering Mexico. Some checkpoints are permanent while others are set up on a temporary basis.

Stated Kouri: “The Border Patrol operates 33 permanent traffic checkpoints in eight of its nine sectors in the Southwest border states, supported by tactical (temporary) checkpoints. While permanent checkpoints have the advantage of physical infrastructure, tactical ones have the mobility to block routes used to evade permanent ones and to respond to intelligence on illegal activity.”

Temporary checkpoints operated in the Tucson, Ariz., area, Kouri says, have been shut down and required to move every seven days “at the instruction of congressional staff in June 2002.” He says legislation required the Tucson sector “to relocate checkpoints on the same schedule in Fiscal Year 2003 and 2004, and an average of once every 14 days in FY 2005.”

The law-enforcement veteran says complaints from some community leaders in the area have stymied the effectiveness of the checkpoints.

Kouri points to government data to bolster his argument:

“The Government Accounting Office developed an apprehension per agent work year measure to assess performance. The data suggest that the performance of the Tucson sector interior checkpoints dropped starting in FY 2002 and more in FY 2003, after the Border Patrol began relocating or closing them on a regular basis. Three other sectors the GAO visited that did not have to relocate or close checkpoints experienced no comparable decrease in apprehensions per agent work year during the same time period. In other words, closing checkpoints results in fewer apprehensions.”

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