Homeland Security Committee Clears Sinema Bill Strengthening Border Security, Combating Human & Drug Smuggling

Feb 1, 2024

Sinema’s CHECKPOINT Act enhances checkpoint technologies and improves drug seizures training to secure the border

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee approved Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s bipartisan Continuing High-quality Evaluations of Concerning and Known Persons of Interest through National Training Updates (CHECKPOINT) Act with bipartisan support. The legislation – introduced by Sinema, Chair of the Border Management Subcommittee, and Republican Senator Rick Scott (Fla.) – strengthens border security and combats illegal human and drug smuggling across the Southwest border.

“Our bipartisan bill delivers real solutions to crack down on dangerous human and drug smuggling at Arizona’s border, and is now one step closer to becoming law – and one step closer to bringing Arizona families peace of mind,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

“It’s heart-wrenching and terrifying that fentanyl continues to flow across our southern border and into U.S. communities where it takes more lives every single day. We cannot allow this drug to continue endangering American families. This commonsense legislation will make several updates to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection training and procedures of the Checkpoint Program Management Office to ensure we are doing everything possible to seize these drugs from dangerous criminals before they harm our communities. I’m glad to have bipartisan support for the Continuing High-quality Evaluations of Concerning and Known Persons of Interest through National Training Updates (CHECKPOINT) Act, and I’m thankful it passed out of committee this week. I won’t stop fighting for this bill’s full passage so that we may take another step toward ending the deadly fentanyl smuggling happening at our border,” said Scott.

Sinema’s CHECKPOINT Act requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to regularly assess and update guidance related to combating drug and human smuggling – keeping instructions current and accurate to reflect the ever-evolving threat landscape and to allow CBP to effectively crack down on dangerous and illegal activity. Additionally, the CHECKPOINT Act enhances technology at Border Patrol checkpoints and improves drug seizures training for Border Patrol agents, improving agents’ ability to prevent deadly drugs like fentanyl from continuing to poison our communities.

The CHECKPOINT Act also enhances intelligence gathering at the Southwest border, ensuring consistent data collection to improve Border Patrol’s efforts to interdict human and drug smuggling.

Border Patrol Agents are currently required to collect data on checkpoint activity related to interdictions of human and drug smuggling. However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from June 2022 found that Border Patrol agents inconsistently documented certain types of data collected at checkpoints, which makes it difficult for Border Patrol to assess checkpoint effectiveness or ensure proper resourcing. The Senator’s bill would implement recommendations from this report to help secure the border and keep Arizona families safe and secure.

Sinema is currently leading negotiations between both parties on a bipartisan border security proposal to deliver lasting solutions addressing the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis at the border.