ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs to assess shuttered Lukeville Port of Entry in person

Dec 8, 2023, 12:56 PM

Migrants line up at a remote U.S. Border Patrol processing center after crossing the U.S.-Mexico bo...

Migrants arrive to a remote U.S. Border Patrol processing center after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, in Lukeville, Arizona. Gov. Katie Hobbs is planning to visit the area on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs said she plans to visit Lukeville in southern Arizona on Saturday to assess the situation after the federal government shut down the port of entry there earlier this week.

“I’m actually going down there tomorrow to see on the ground what’s going on,” Hobbs told reporters after an unrelated event in Phoenix on Friday.

Hobbs said Maj. Gen. Kerry L. Muehlenbeck, the state’s adjutant general, will join her at the border to help determine if there’s anything the Arizona National Guard can do to help. Muehlenbeck is director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, which includes the National Guard.

Could the Arizona National Guard help at the border?

Hobbs thus far has resisted calls to deploy state forces to possibly help keep the Lukeville Port of Entry open.

“I think a lot of the politicians calling for this action [are] not understanding what the scope of their duties might be able to be,” she said.

The Democratic governor said she’s been talking to the Biden administration about possibly deploying the state Guard under federal orders. She also said she’s been pushing for more financial support to deal with the border situation.

“National Guard deployment is not a long-term solution,” U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani, a Republican from Tucson, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday. “It’s an immediate thing that we need to do to solve the problem that we have right now, when we’re hitting record high numbers almost on daily basis.”

Why is the Lukeville Port of Entry at the Arizona-Mexico border closed?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection closed the Lukeville Port of Entry on Monday so staffing there could be reassigned to help deal with a surge in migrants crossing illegally from Mexico into Arizona.

Hobbs doesn’t think the staffing shift can make enough of an impact on the migrant situation to justify closing the only direct border crossing between metro Phoenix and the popular tourist destination of Puerto Peñasco, aka Rocky Point.

“I don’t think it’s enough, and it’s certainly not the right response because it is hurting both Arizona and Sonora. The tourism is being greatly impacted in, especially, Rocky Point,” she said.

Hobbs said it’s “incredibly unfortunate” that the border situation has become politicized.

“As governor, I’m going to continue to prioritize the needs of our border communities and advocate for those [communities], regardless of who’s in the White House. … I don’t understand why this action is taking place, and I’ll continue to express my frustration,” she said.

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs to assess shuttered Lukeville Port of Entry in person