Checking on Checkpoints
In 2011, the U.S. Border Patrol asked the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS) to evaluate a 2009 review of the agency’s traffic checkpoints. The review recommended that the Border Patrol take actions in four major areas: data integrity and quality, community impacts, performance models and measures and managerial tool development (GAO 2009, 78). BORDERS conducted a two-year study to examine and advise the Border Patrol on how to address the following GAO recommendations:
Data integrity and quality
a) Establish internal controls for management oversight of the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of checkpoint performance data.
b) Implement quality of life measures that have already been identified by the Border Patrol to evaluate the impact that checkpoints have on local communities.
c) Use the information generated from the quality of life measures with other relevant factors to inform resource allocations and address identified impacts.
Performance models and measures
d) Establish milestones for determining the feasibility of a checkpoint performance model that would allow the Border Patrol to compare apprehensions and seizures to the level of illegal activity passing through the checkpoint undetected.
Managerial tool development
e) Require that the Border Patrol conduct traffic volume studies to guide the number and operation of inspection lanes at new permanent checkpoints, and document these requirements in checkpoint design guidelines and standards.
f) Along with planning new or upgrading existing checkpoints, conduct a workforce needs assessment to determine the levels of staff and resources needed to address anticipated volumes of illegal activity around the checkpoint.
BORDERS’ assessment of these issues, including major findings and recommended actions are summarized below.