Phoenix, Arizona – December 4, 2023
The “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)” announced on Friday the temporary closure of a remote border crossing near Lukeville, Arizona, due to an overwhelming influx of migrants from Mexico. The closure, set to begin on Monday, aims to allow operations officials to assist Border Patrol agents in managing and processing the increasing number of arrivals.
The decision comes as the Lukeville area has witnessed a surge in migration routes, with individuals from diverse countries, including Senegal, India, and China, making their way into the United States. Smugglers are reportedly guiding people west of Lukeville through gaps in the border wall, and they subsequently head east toward the official crossing, surrendering to Border Patrol agents in hopes of seeking asylum.
In the past week alone, the Border Patrol in Arizona’s Tucson sector made 17,500 arrests for illegal crossings, averaging 2,500 per day. This figure significantly surpasses the daily average of 1,700 recorded in September when Tucson was already the busiest corridor for illegal crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Customs and Border Protection acknowledged the challenges, attributing the surge to “smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals.” The agency assured the public that it is “surging all available resources” to process migrants safely and efficiently while maintaining a focus on border security.
While the closure duration remains unclear, the Lukeville border crossing, although remote, is crucial for travel between Arizona and Puerto Peñasco, a popular resort area in the Mexican state of Sonora. Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and KyrstenSinema, alongside Governor Katie Hobbs, condemned the planned closure, deeming it “unacceptable” and calling on the federal government to act swiftly to maintain port of entry operations.
The trio emphasized the need for better solutions to secure the border, protect communities, and ensure the humane treatment of migrants. They also criticized partisan politics, urging collaboration to address the escalating situation.
Despite the closure, alternative border crossings in “Nogales and San Luis, Arizona,” remain open, allowing travelers to enter or exit the United States. Customs and Border Protection had already initiated traffic restrictions at the Lukeville port earlier this week and recently closed one of two bridges to vehicles in Eagle Pass, Texas, another area grappling with illegal crossings.