Thursday, June 20, 2024

Sonora governor calls on US to reopen Arizona border crossing

The governor of the Mexican state of Sonora is urging the United States to reopen the southwest border crossing between the Sonoran city of Sonoyta and Lukeville, Arizona.

Citing “increased levels of migrant encounters,” Customs and Border Protection (CBP) made the unilateral decision to close the Lukeville Port of Entry beginning on Monday, Dec. 4, affecting pedestrian and vehicle traffic between Sonora and Arizona. 

Migrants in Coahuila
The number of migrants attempting to cross at unofficial entry points along the Arizona-Sonora border has escalated in recent weeks. (Cuartoscuro)

Over the weekend, Governor Alfonso Durazo posted a video to social media platform X calling on the U.S. government to find migratory solutions beyond border closures and cautioning that the shutdown would negatively impact commercial, tourist and social relations between the two countries. 

“No one can deny that the migratory situation is extremely complex, but the solution does not lie in closing border crossings; the Government of Sonora has made an extraordinary and unprecedented effort, both in terms of economic and human resources, to humanely respond to people traveling through our state,” added Durazo.

The Lukeville Port of Entry receives a mix of northbound migrants, cargo truck crossings and southbound tourists heading for Rocky Point, a resort area on the Gulf of California. It is part of the Tucson border sector, which recently registered the highest level of migrant encounters along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

According to the Associated Press, migrants are entering the U.S. through gaps in the wall west of Lukeville, then heading east toward Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. This new entry pattern has resulted in overwhelming numbers of arrivals to Ajo Border Patrol Station, located 28 miles north of Lukeville. Sector Chief John Modlin said on Friday that border authorities made 17,500 arrests for illegal crossings just in the past week.

Sonora Governor Alfonso Durazo urged the United States to reverse the closure in a video posted to X on Sunday. (@AlfonsoDurazo/X)

Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, along with Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, expressed their criticism of the closure and joined Sonora Governor Durazo in demanding alternative solutions at the border.

“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 Arizona representatives said in a joint statement. “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.”

The United States has temporarily closed several official ports of entry along its border with Mexico in the past year, redirecting CBP personnel to areas experiencing high numbers of illegal crossings. 

CBP is directing international travelers to cross either through the Nogales ports of entry, over 200 miles east of Lukeville, or through the San Luis Port of Entry, about 130 miles west of Lukeville. 

With reports from Forbes, The Associated Press and AZCentral

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