Business community cheers reopening of Lukeville port, but criticism of administration’s border management remains

The Arizona business community is cheering the reopening of the Lukeville port of entry and the Morley Gate pedestrian crossing in Nogales, but leaders say the ports of entry never should have been closed. Customs and Border Protection announced in early December that it was closing the Lukeville port and Morley Gate along with an international bridge spanning the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas and a pedestrian crossing near San Diego. CBP reopened the crossings today.

“We’re obviously pleased Lukeville and Morley Gate are reopening, but these ports of entry never should have been closed. Cutting off border states from international trade and travel, which are integral parts of our economy, is never the answer,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden said. “This administration and Congress need to come together now on a border policy that strikes the right balance between security and commerce.”

Lukeville is the most used crossing for travelers going to and from Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, a beach community on the Sea of Cortez in Sonora. The port was closed throughout the busy holiday season travel period, preventing Arizonans from reaching their beach destination and delivering a major economic blow to Rocky Point businesses that depend on tourists. 

“This was an irresponsible and reckless move that should have never happened. Not only did this create financial turmoil for border communities within Arizona who rely on the tourism traffic to and from Rocky Point to support their families, but the closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry also put unnecessary stress and strain on our citizens and commerce who depend on a safe and direct route to this popular destination,” state Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, said.

Arizona Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R, traveled to Eagle Pass on Wednesday with a delegation led by House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

The delegation of 64 House Republicans representing 26 states met with CBP personnel, attended a briefing with the Texas Department of Public Safety, and joined a roundtable with local ranchers, business owners and other stakeholders from the area. 

“I believe in the American Dream that I’m living. But this (border crisis) is not it,” Ciscomani said in a press conference. “With this crisis that Joe Biden and (Homeland Security Sec.) Alejandro Mayorkas created, nobody wins – except the cartels. They are the ones deciding who gets across and who doesn’t. They are the ones who are trafficking people and drugs. They are the ones terrorizing their own citizens, with no regard for human life. The men and women we met with today, those fighting on the frontlines for our safety, are doing so with little to no support from this administration. They are trying to enforce policies that are at best outdated or at worst, designed to fail.” 

Both Rep. Ciscomani and Speaker Johnson expressed support for a border enforcement bill the House passed last year.

“H.R. 2 is the necessary ingredient. Why? Because it has provisions that fix each of these problems and these things work together,” Johnson said. “For example you couldn’t just reform the broken asylum process and allow this parole system to remain broken, it would be a giant loophole that would not solve the issue. We know what works, it’s not rocket science and that’s why we have said that we are resolved to those provisions, that’s what’s necessary to fix the problem. It’s not just House Republicans’ opinions, it’s based upon the informed opinions of the people here on the ground.”

Shope remains critical of the Biden administration’s management of the border, saying, “Nothing has changed at the border to prompt the opening of Lukeville.”

“This was purely a political move after Republican lawmakers put immense pressure on the Biden Administration to open this critical artery for commerce and legal traffic,” he said. “I’m grateful for the support of Arizona’s congressional delegation who pressed Secretary Mayorkas to reverse this closure. I will continue to demand Joe Biden secure our border once and for all, and to never again resort to closing our ports of entry.”

Photo courtesy CBP

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