U.S. Customs and Border Protection will temporarily halt operations at the Lukeville, Arizona border crossing on Monday, amid an “increased levels of migrant encounters.”
According to border officials, the move is to address a surge in migrant encounters at the border "fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals," and to redirect personnel to help border patrol take migrants into custody.
Travelers can expect up to a four-hour detour, whether that’s going into Mexico or coming into the United States and will have to use the Nogales or San Luis ports of entry. The port that’s on the way to Rocky Point, Mexico, is going to be closed to both cars and pedestrians.
Jaime Chamberlain, who is the chairman of the Nogales Santa Cruz Port Authority, says the closure of the Lukeville port is going to lead to longer lines at the Nogales ports. He says a lot of customs officers have already been taken away from inspections to help process people hoping to get asylum.
CBP officials say the Tucson area, including Nogales, is already seeing the highest number of migrants coming into the country. From October of last year to October of this year, they saw a 140% jump with more than 33,000 migrants this year.
In October, an average of 3,140 individuals in vehicles and 184 pedestrians entered the U.S. daily through Lukeville, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.
It's not clear for how long officials will keep this crossing closed.
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