Feb 26, 2014 7:42 PM by John Patrick
TUCSON - Arivaca residents are initiating checkpoint monitoring after their petition attempts failed.
For the third time in three months Arivaca residents are protesting the Arivaca-Amado checkpoint on Arivaca Road just west of I-19. After a petition to get the checkpoint removed failed, some of the members of the community are volunteering to monitor Customs and Border Protection activities at the checkpoint.
The petition signed by over one-third of the 600 Arivaca residents was denied because the checkpoint is considered an effective tool for Customs and Border Protection Resident Leesa Jacobson says without any facts or figures to back the effectiveness of the Arivaca-Amado checkpoint this is a moot point.
"We decided we would have a community based effort in which we would gather the data the Border Patrol does not or does not make available to the public," says Jacobson.
A group of 4-6 monitors will meet at the checkpoint two times a week to track and document any searches and seizures and hope to deter any abuses such as harassments and unwarranted searches.
One of the big concerns for the community is the local school buses that have to go through the checkpoint every day. Jacobson says it's too much for the kids to have to go through.
Jacobson explains, "Their bus and sometimes they are examined by armed federal agents every day of their lives."
Carlotta Rey has lived in Arivaca for 30 years and does not want her grandchildren to have to experience this anymore.
"They are learning to see this everyday and it's not good. They have guns and they don't quite understand why they are here like we're bad people and we're not," says Rey.
Although CBP does not say exactly for the Arivaca-Amado checkpoint they do know from 2010-2013, Tucson Sector checkpoints have made approximately 6,372 apprehensions and seized over 135,000 pounds of narcotics.
CBP released this statement about the checkpoint:
"The Arivaca-Amado checkpoint has been in operation for approximately seven years and there are no current plans to alter checkpoint operations in that location. Tucson Sector continues to welcome and encourage comments from all of our community members regarding Border Patrol operations. Observing Border Patrol operations is permissible as long as it doesn't interfere with operations."
The group of community checkpoint monitors claims they will continue to do just that until something is done about the checkpoint they want out of their community.
The data they gather will eventually be compiled and made available on their website.