‘Welcome news’: Lukeville Port of Entry reopens Thursday

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(The Center Square) – The Lukeville Port of Entry will be reopened by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Thursday after being closed since early December.

CBP closed certain legal entry points into the U.S. in Arizona, California, and Texas to focus on the surge of migrant crossings into the country.

“CBP will continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

The Lukeville closure, which made it difficult for tourists seeking to get to and from Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, prompted a bipartisan rebuke of the Biden administration from Arizona’s state and federal officials.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs ordered National Guard troops to Lukeville after first asking the Biden administration do to so, but she eventually took matters into her own hands with an executive order on Dec. 15, The Center Square reported.

Despite the reopening, Hobbs still maintained a critical tone of the federal government’s handling of the border crisis.

“The closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry caused a month of strain and concern for Arizona’s border communities,” the Democrat said in a statement Tuesday night.

“While the reopening is welcome news, this closure shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Arizona’s ports of entry are vital to national security and trade, and it’s critical that the federal government sends more resources to ensure this does not happen again,” she said. “While Lukeville will be reopened soon, it’s clear we have work to do to secure our border. As Governor, I am committed to keeping our communities safe and prosperous, and look forward to working with border communities to get that done.”

U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani, who represents parts of southern Arizona, referred to the shutdown as a major disruption.

“The closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry accomplished nothing to curb the surge of migrants we’re continuing to see. Instead, it shut down trade, commerce, tourism and travel across the border during one of the busiest times of the year,” Ciscomani tweeted.

“This action is just another example of how the Biden administration’s misguided policies do nothing to solve the problem but everything to hurt our border communities,” the Republican added.

As for the current status of troop deployment, officials have said some troops are already in the Lukeville area assisting state authorities.

“We currently have Guardsmen assigned with Department of Public Safety troopers in the vicinity of Lukeville Port of Entry as of late last month,” an Arizona National Guard spokesperson said in an email to The Center Square on Wednesday. “We do not have an authorized release of current numbers of Guardsmen at this time.”

Besides Lukeville, the Nogales Morely Gate will reopen at 10 a.m. on Thursday, according to CBP.

Months before the closures, The Center Square reported in September that Port of Entry officials in southern Arizona were concerned about the federal government’s decreased focus on the ports to focus on illegal crossings.

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