Community activist believes closure of Lukeville Port of Entry could result in border town deaths

Dec 6, 2023, 4:25 AM

A U.S. Border Patrol agent counts immigrants after they spent the night in the desert on December 0...

A U.S. Border Patrol agent counts immigrants after they spent the night in the desert on December 05, 2023 in Lukeville, Arizona. A surge of immigrants passing through openings in the border wall cut by smugglers has overwhelmed U.S. immigration authorities, causing them to shut down the international port of entry in Lukeville, so that officers can help process the new arrivals. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — A community activist who works with border towns believes there could be deaths if the Lukeville Port of Entry in Arizona doesn’t reopen soon.

Aaron Cooper, executive director of the International Sonoran Desert Alliance, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad Show on Tuesday that border town residents who rely on services in both the United States and Mexico could suffer the most.

“If it’s the difference between a 15-minute trip and a 10-hour round trip, I think people very well could die because if you’re trying to get to dialysis, a 10-hour round trip is not really feasible for you,” Cooper said.

Why is the Lukeville Port of Entry closed?

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. The closure started Monday.

Cooper sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday urging officials to keep the port of entry open.

Those who make the daily commute between Ajo, Arizona, and Sonoyta, Mexico, aren’t able to do so in an efficient manner with the entry closed, a point that sticks with Cooper.

“There are people that receive medications at P.O. boxes in Lukeville that live south of the border,” Cooper said. “They go up north, get their medications and go back south.

“So there’s all sorts of unintended consequences that are going to happen from closing this port of entry.”

When will the Lukeville Port of Entry reopen?

A timeline to reopen the port of entry is unknown.

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.

Cooper said he’s also unsure when the situation could be over.

“We have no information,” Cooper said. “Local communities were not given any previous warning and there’s been no local community engagement to even assess impacts from closing the port of entry.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Phoenix Fire...

Occupant dead after vehicular crash leads to flames in Phoenix

One person died and two others suffered non-life-threatening injuries after a vehicle crash sparked a fire in Phoenix, authorities said. 

12 minutes ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

2 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

3 hours ago

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.

4 hours ago

(Pexels Photo)...

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.

6 hours ago


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.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Community activist believes closure of Lukeville Port of Entry could result in border town deaths