ARIZONA NEWS

Closure of Lukeville Port of Entry in Arizona devastating for Puerto Peñasco tourism

Dec 4, 2023, 2:02 PM | Updated: 2:08 pm

File photo of a sign near the beach at Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. Puerto Peñasco tourism screeched t...

Puerto Peñasco tourism screeched to a halt Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, after U.S. border officials closed the main port of entry between Phoenix and the Mexican beach town. (File, PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)

(File, PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Puerto Peñasco tourism screeched to a halt Monday after U.S. border officials closed the main port of entry between Phoenix and the Mexican town known as “Arizona’s Beach.”

U.S. officials announced plans Friday to close the Lukeville Port of Entry indefinitely so resources could be focused on dealing with a surge of illegal crossings in the area.

Keith Allen of the Peñasco Business Coalition said visitors from Arizona fled Puerto Peñasco over the weekend, before the closure went into effect, to avoid a potentially lengthy detour.

“It has only literally been hours since the border’s been closed this morning, but the town of Peñasco, from what I understand, is totally dead right now,” Allen told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday morning.

Allen, who works in Mexico as director of sales for the Encantame Towers condo development, said there’s been a “slew of cancellations” for upcoming rentals, making Americans who own property in the area “very nervous.”

Why is Puerto Peñasco known as Arizona’s Beach?

The drive from Phoenix to Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, typically takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes through the Lukeville crossing at the southern point of State Route 85.

Allen said a majority of the beachfront homes and condos in the Puerto Peñasco area are owned by Americans.

“It is known as Arizona’s Beach,” he said. “And why? Because it’s so close to drive to, it’s more economical.”

With Lukeville closed, the next shortest drive goes through the San Luis Port of Entry, near Yuma, adding about 150 miles and 2-3 hours to the trip, depending on conditions.

On top of that, increased traffic at the San Luis crossing could create additional delays at the border. Travelers can check wait times on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and plan for delays. The wait was 40-50 minutes longer than average at midday Monday.

“Please be patient with us. We’re doing the best we can with what we have and we’re trying to assist Border Patrol as well,” Edith Serrano, public affairs liaison for CBP, told KTAR News.

How does Lukeville Port of Entry closure hurt Arizonans?

The area around the desert crossing at Lukeville has become a major migration route in recent months, with smugglers dropping off people from countries as diverse as Senegal, India and China. Most of them are walking into the U.S. west of the port of entry through gaps in the wall, then head east toward the official border crossing to surrender to the first agents they see in hopes for a chance at asylum.

CBP didn’t provide a timeline for how long Lukeville would be closed.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs told reporters Monday morning she was “extremely frustrated” with the situation.

“This is a bad decision that impacts our border security. It hurts our economy because it’s a putting a damper on trade and tourism,” Hobbs said.

Allen said the economic impact of the closure will be felt on both sides of the border because so many Americans own real estate in Puerto Peñasco and rely on rental income.

“If this were to continue, people start putting their units on the market, flooding the market and devaluing everyone’s equity,” he said. “And, so, there’s a huge ripple effect from this closure that I don’t think a lot of people realize.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Heidi Hommel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

In this Sept. 30, 2011, file photo, solar panel installation continues at a rapid pace at the Mesqu...

Associated Press

Over 1 million Arizona customers to see rooftop solar fees increase

About 1.4 million customers in Arizona will be paying more for electricity now that regulators have approved a rate hike.

16 minutes ago

(Pexels Photo)...

KTAR.com

Police investigating fatal hit-and-run collision in west Phoenix

Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run collision that killed a female pedestrian in west Phoenix.

2 hours ago

Monsoon...

David Veenstra

Arizona gets $10.3M in federal funding to restore ecosystem

The U.S. Department of the Interior is investing $10.3 million to restore Arizona's lands and waters this year.

4 hours ago

(City of Glendale Photo)...

KTAR.com

Police search for suspect after 2 people were shot in Glendale

Police are searching for a suspect who allegedly shot two people in Glendale early Saturday.

6 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Scottsdale Police Department)...

KTAR.com

4 people stabbed during early-morning melee at Scottsdale bar

A suspect is in custody after four people were stabbed early Saturday during a violent altercation at a bar in Scottsdale.

8 hours ago

Paella featuring lobster tail, jumbo prawns, diver scallops, mussels, chorizo, arborio rice, Englis...

David Veenstra

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale opens new restaurant Faro & Brag

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa opened its new restaurant, "Faro & Brag," in Scottsdale featuring modern cuisine and outdoor seating.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Closure of Lukeville Port of Entry in Arizona devastating for Puerto Peñasco tourism