Sens. Kelly, Sinema join Gov. Hobbs in pushing president to reopen Lukeville, repay Arizona

Dec 12, 2023, 2:00 PM

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs meets with law enforcement at the closed Lukeville Port of Entry...

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs visited the Lukeville Port of Entry on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. (Facebook Photos/Governor Katie Hobbs)

(Facebook Photos/Governor Katie Hobbs)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s U.S. senators have Gov. Katie Hobbs’ back as she tries to get federal manpower and financial support to address ongoing border security concerns, including the closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry.

Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday echoing requests Hobbs made last week.

“In light of the recent decision to temporarily close the Lukeville Port of Entry and the record number of migrants attempting to cross into Arizona, we write in support of Governor Hobbs’ request to reassign National Guard members to facilitate the reopening of the port, and to have the federal government reimburse the state for the costs it incurs shouldering the burden of the border crisis,” the letter says.

Sinema, an independent, and Democrats Kelly and Hobbs want Biden to reassign 243 National Guard members currently on active duty in southern Arizona to reopen the Lukeville border crossing.

They also want Arizona to be reimbursed for more than $512 million in expenses incurred by the state because of the federal government’s failure to secure the border.

Why is Lukeville Port of Entry closed?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection closed the Lukeville Port of Entry on Dec. 4 so resources could be shifted to deal with a surge of illegal crossings in the area. No timetable was provided for when the crossing would reopen.

“This decision is an unacceptable outcome that further destabilizes our border, risks the safety of our communities and damages our economy,” the senators’ letter says. “Our ports of entry are key drivers of economic growth and security in our state, and it is critical that they be properly staffed and resourced.”

Lukeville is the only direct border crossing between metro Phoenix and the popular tourist destination of Puerto Peñasco.

What has Gov. Hobbs been doing about border situation?

Hobbs initially requested National Guard support and financial compensation in a letter to Biden on Friday. She also unveiled an initiative that day to mobilize state resources to address border security issues called Operation SECURE (Safety, Enforcement, Coordination and Uniform Response).

Hobbs then visited Lukeville over the weekend to assess the situation in person.

“As long as I’m governor, I’ll do whatever I can to end the chaos at the border,” she said in a video shot during her trip and posted to social media on Saturday. “I’m not afraid to stand up to politicians on either side who aren’t doing what’s in the best interest of Arizona.”

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Sens. Kelly, Sinema join Gov. Hobbs in pushing president to reopen Lukeville, repay Arizona