A group of volunteers from communities in southern Arizona on Wednesday began monitoring Border Patrol checkpoints with the aim of documenting possible civil rights violations.

Leesa Jacobson, spokesperson for the volunteer group, told Efe on Wednesday that six people are taking photographs and videotaping near the Border Patrol's Arivaca Road checkpoint, 25 miles north of the border with Mexico.

She said that about a third of the residents of Arivaca, as well as local businessowners, have signed a petition to have the checkpoint immediately removed using the argument that it is hurting the local economy.

The American Civil Liberties Union has documented cases and collected testimony from several U.S. citizens who have complained about the treatment they receive at Border Patrol checkpoints in Arizona.

The main complaints include unwarranted detentions, reviews that take a long time and verbal abuse.

The checkpoint is located near the town of Arivaca and is called "temporary," but it has been in operation for seven years.

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva sent a letter to the head of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, Manuel Padilla, in which he expresses his support for the residents of Arivaca and asks that the checkpoint be dismantled.

Jacobson noted that each day Arivaca residents must pass through the Border Patrol checkpoint to go shopping, take their children to school or go to their jobs.

Meanwhile, the Border Patrol on several occasions has defended the establishment of checkpoints and has said that they are a "weapon" in the fight to keep undocumented immigrants from crossing the border and to prevent drug smuggling. EFE