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January 1, Port Closure Devastates Small Towns: Temporary Shutdown’s Lingering Effects



The Lukeville Port of Entry in Arizona was “temporarily” closed on December 1, 2023. This left nearby communities and small businesses uncertain about when it would reopen.

One affected town is Why, a small community 30 miles from the port. The closure impacted businesses like the Why Not Travel Store, which saw a significant drop in customers.

Bernadette Nez, the store’s general manager, said, “Everything was very slow. We didn’t get any travelers heading down to Mexico. We only had a few locals, and Why is very small.”

The closure affected local businesses in Why and also those across the border in Mexico. David Grosse, an Arizona resident with rental properties in Rocky Point, reported 90% of his renters canceled their stays upon hearing the news.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) justified the port shutdown as necessary to “redirect personnel to assist the U. S. Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody.”

The Tucson sector, which includes the Lukeville Port of Entry, experienced 342,002 migrant encounters in the first six months of the fiscal year 2024. The closure caused concern for local communities and businesses that rely on cross-border traffic.

Pima County Sheriff Chris Naños believes the border issues are CBP’s responsibility, not local or state law enforcement agencies. “The border is a federal government issue. It’s their problem,” he told Blaze News.

Even with the port now reopened, some prospective renters remain hesitant to book their travel accommodations. They lack confidence that the port will remain open.

Arizona state Sen. David Gowan (R) said local law enforcement officers have “reached their break point” due to increased criminal activity from the current border crisis.

Lora Ries, the director of the Border Security and Immigration Center at the Heritage Foundation, believes the Biden administration’s open border policies are to blame for the disruptions in communities like Why. “If communities want a functioning border, they should direct their ire at the Biden administration and demand that it stop the illegal flow of people,” she said.

The Lukeville Port of Entry reopened on January 4, 2024. However, the situation remains uncertain for residents and businesses on both sides of the border.

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