U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the closure of the Lukeville, Arizona Port of Entry beginning midnight Monday, December 4, 2023, until further notice.
“In response to increased levels of migrant encounters at the Southwest Border, fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals, CBP is surging all available resources to expeditiously and safely process migrants. CBP will continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation,” CBP said in a statement.
Border Patrol officials said nearly 5,000 people were in custody across the Tucson Sector, which runs from the Yuma County line to the New Mexico border, took more people into custody than any other part of the Southwestern border.
According to the Associated Press, the area around the desert crossing has become a major migration route in recent months, with smugglers dropping off people from countries as diverse as Senegal, India, and China. Most of them are walking into the U.S. west of Lukeville through gaps in the wall, then head east toward the official border crossing to surrender to the first agents they see in hopes of a chance at asylum.
The agency also closed the Eagle Pass border crossing in Texas.
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, along with independent U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, put out a joint press release.
“This is an unacceptable outcome that further destabilizes our border, risks the safety of our communities, and damages our economy by disrupting trade and tourism,” they wrote. “The federal government must act swiftly to maintain port of entry operations, get the border under control, keep Arizona communities safe, and ensure the humane treatment of migrants.”
“Enough is enough — Arizona deserves real solutions to our border crisis,” they stated. “The administration must send immediate resources to secure the border and help our communities. Partisan politicians who parrot talking points while watching the border further deteriorate must reject the echo chamber and work with us to get something done and keep our communities safe.”
The Lukeville border crossing is the one regularly used to travel to Puerto Peñasco, or Rocky Point, a resort in the Mexican state of Sonora on the Sea of Cortez. An average of 3,140 people in vehicles and 184 pedestrians entered the U.S. daily in Lukeville during October, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.
It connects Mexican Federal Highway 8 in Sonoyta, Sonora, with Arizona State Route 85, in Lukeville, Arizona. Modifications made using funding from the Federal Highway Administration and Mexican businesses in 2011 facilitate the inspection of trucks and improve general throughput. Much of the traffic using this crossing is people traveling to the popular beach town of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.