The flood of illegal immigrants in southern Arizona has grown so bad that Homeland Security said it will have to shut down a border crossing and reassign the officers to help Border Patrol agents deal with the wave of migrants jumping the boundary.
Customs and Border Protection, which runs the ports of entry, said Friday that the Lukeville crossing will be shuttered starting Monday.
Just a few days ago, CBP had announced it was throttling down vehicle traffic through Lukeville, so the decision to fully close down both vehicle and foot traffic marks an escalation — and a source of frustration for locals who count on the crossing for business or family reasons.
“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,” the agency said in an unsigned statement.
Lukeville is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive south of Phoenix.
CBP said those who would normally use the crossing should instead go to San Luis, about a three-hour drive west along the border, or to Nogales, which is about a three-hour drive east.
Local news reports said thousands of migrants are camped out on the Mexican side of the border eyeing the crossing. KOLD-TV showed video of a hole cut in the border fence, with migrants coming through.
CBP blamed smugglers, who for the most part have dictated the terms of the border over the last three years, forcing U.S. officials to adapt to the smuggling cartels’ tactics.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has made a series of pivots in policy but the cartels have quickly adapted to each, maintaining a record pace of illegal immigrants reaching the U.S.