PHOENIX - After weeks of closure, it appears a crossing along the Arizona portion of the U.S. - Mexico Border will reopen.
In a statement, officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that the Lukeville Port of Entry will reopen at 6:00 a.m. on Jan. 4. At the same time, officials announced the reopening of three other border crossings on the same day:
- Morely Gate border crossing in Nogales, Ariz. (10:00 a.m. local time)
- San Ysidro's Pedestrian West, near San Diego, Calif. (6:00 a.m. local time)
- Eagle Pass International Bridge 1, at Eagle Pass, Texas (7:00 a.m. local time)
"CBP will continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation," read a portion of the statement.
Border crossing closures impacted business
The Lukeville Port of Entry has been closed, in both directions, since Dec. 4, days after its closure was announced by border officials. At the time, officials said the decision to temporarily suspend operations at Lukeville was done in order to "redirect personnel to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody."
Following the closure, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs announced the activation of the state's National Guard to support operations at the closed port of entry. The closure also had an impact on Rocky Point (called Puerto Peñasco in the Spanish Language) as tourists from the U.S. almost vanished at the Mexican municipality, prompting fears over the economic damage it could cause.
Politicians speak out
Rep. Greg Stanton
Rep. Greg Stanton
Rep. Stanton issued the following statement on the reopening:
"During one of the busiest months for cross-border commerce and tourism, our understaffed and under-resourced Border Patrol was forced to close a vital port of entry. Border communities can’t keep paying the price for the federal government’s failures. Congress must come together to pass emergency supplemental funds to hire more officers and surge resources to secure our border."
The Democratic Congressman represents the state's 4th Congressional District, which covers the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, along with portions of Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.
Gov. Katie Hobbs
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs
In a separate statement, Gov. Hobbs (D) said the Lukeville Port of Entry's closure caused "month of strain and concern for Arizona’s border communities."
"While the reopening is welcome news, this closure shouldn’t have happened in the first place," Gov. Hobbs wrote, in a statementy. "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. 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."
Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly
Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema.
In a joint statement, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly and Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema say they are "relieved that the Lukeville Port of Entry and Morley Gate are reopening."
"Arizona’s border communities are in crisis – and closing Lukeville and redirecting port officers to help U.S. Border Patrol process migrants due to a broken border system further destabilized our border and disrupted trade and tourism our economy depends on," the two Senators wrote. "While reopening these border crossings is critical, it doesn’t solve our broken border and immigration system. The longer Congress and the Administration fail to adequately respond, the more we risk future closures and disruptions. We’re renewing our call for both sides to reject the echo chamber and work with us to make meaningful progress, secure our border, and keep our communities safe."
Rep. Juan Ciscomani
Rep. Juan Ciscomani
In a statement, Rep. Ciscomani said the border crossing closure "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. 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," read a portion of the statement.
Rep Ciscomani represents Arizona's 6th Congressional District. The district covers a portions of Southeastern Arizona, including a portion of Tucson, in addition to a portion of Casa Grande.
People react to news of border crossing's reopening
As news of the reopening spreads, Aron Brown, who travels between the Phoenix area and Rocky Point at least twice per week for his real estate business, talked about the moment he received word of the reopening.
"I was sitting at a restaurant in Yuma when I got the news, and I was just jumping up and down," said Brown. "Excited about the fact that this is a new year coming in, and the best news yet!"
Brown said during the closure, he managed to get to the Mexican municipality, but the trip took more time.
"I'm driving to Rocky Point, and it’s an eight-hour drive instead of my three-and-a-half-hour when I go to Lukeville. The first thing I thought was this is going to end? All these long trips that I have to do all the way to San Luis or to Nogales to get home," said Brown.
Now, Brown said he is ready for tourism, and his business, to restart.
"You can imagine somebody locking the door on your business completely. Zero reservations. Everything went to zero because nobody is going to take that drive," said Brown.
Brown was not the only person affected by the border problems. Lynette Bole, who has property south of the border, was also affected.
"Somebody like me, who has put my retirement down there because I want to go down there and visit once I do get to retire, how is this affecting my long-term investment?" said Bole.
Bole said she will be one of the first ones to head back.
"I’m so excited," said Bole. "We’ll be back not this weekend but the following weekend, because that’s the first time we can get back. We’ll be there."