U.S. Customs and Border Protection has declared the temporary closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry in response to a surge in migrant crossings in the region.
Effective from Monday, December 4, the closure impacts both pedestrian and vehicle crossings. Federal officials state that this measure is essential to redirect personnel to support the U.S. Border Patrol in apprehending migrants. The duration of the closure remains uncertain, forcing travelers from Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), Sonora, to take a considerably longer detour through Nogales or San Luis, resulting in an estimated delay of two to four hours.
The agency issued a statement, noting, “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.” Lukeville is situated in the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector, which recorded the highest activity among the nine sectors along the U.S.-Mexico border in October.
“As we respond with additional resources and apply consequences for unlawful entry, the migration trends shift as well,” CBP explained. “We continue to adjust our operational plans to maximize enforcement efforts against those noncitizens who do not use lawful pathways or processes such as CBP One™ and those without a legal basis to remain in the United States.”
On Monday, Arizona’s Family reported extended delays at the border crossing as CBP officials redirected officers from the checkpoint to border enforcement. Reports from KOLD, Arizona’s Family affiliate in southern Arizona, revealed a breach in the border fence in Lukeville, enabling numerous migrants unauthorized entry into the United States.
Justin Winburn, Watch Commander for the San Luis Port of Entry, emphasized the challenging situation at the border, stating, “Our resources are not infinite. When we get asked to do something more, maybe outside of our scope, it means taking people off the line to go support that.”
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported CBP’s closure of one of two bridges to vehicles in Eagle Pass, Texas, a town of approximately 30,000 people that, for a period last year, experienced the highest traffic for illegal crossings. Although arrests for illegal crossing decreased in October, September marked the second-highest month on record.