December 1, 2023

Officials to close Lukeville/Sonoyita border crossing due migrant surge

Lukeville port's temporary closure due to a migrant surge raises travel and economic concerns in Arizona, prompting officials to urge swift federal action.

migrants Lukeville Border Patrol processing migrants who crossed the border outside of Lukeville, Arizona, in May 2023.
Danyelle Khmara

Border officials are temporarily closing the Lukeville port of entry, starting Monday, to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

They say the move is necessary to redirect personnel to assist Border Patrol with a surge of migrants at the border in the Lukeville, Ajo, and Sasabe areas.

Tucson Sector agents apprehended 17,500 migrants last week, many of whom come through cuts made in the border wall by criminal organizations.

Border officials also recently closed internal checkpoints on the 1-19 and in other parts of the region, and temporarily reduced social media updates to redirect personnel to assist Border Patrol with apprehending and processing migrants.

Travelers will need to use the ports of entry in either Nogales or San Luis for both north and southbound travel. Ports in Nogales have already experienced longer wait times recently due to officers being reassigned to help process migrants.

Nearly a million travelers used the Lukeville port last year, many of whom were Arizonans traveling to Rocky Point and the Sea of Cortez.

The port is also undergoing an expansion, which includes a northbound lane to expedite entry into the United States primarily for tourists from Mexico, which the Arizona Office of Tourism says is considered a critical component for economic benefits in the state.

One Arizona Senator, T.J. Shope of Coolidge, Arizona, called on Gov. Katie Hobbs to deploy the Arizona National Guard to the border to provide resources to keep the port open, saying the closure would negatively affect Arizonans vacationing in Puerto Peñasco.

Hobbs, along with Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, issued a joint statement Friday afternoon calling the closure unacceptable and asking the federal government for help.

“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,” the statement said. “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.”

MORE: Border, News
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