Asylum Seekers in the US-Mexico Border
Migrants expecting to cross the border in Arizona. AFP

In response to a surge in migrants arrivals, the U.S. government has indefinitely closed the Lukeville, Arizona international crossing to redirect Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers to assist with transportation and support for the hundreds of migrants crossing daily in the area, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

The closure of the Lukeville crossing has sparked criticism from various quarters, including Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and Mexico's Sonora state governor, who expressed concerns about potential harm to trade and tourism. Despite the criticism, the Border Patrol justifies its actions, stating the need to expedite the apprehension of migrants and curb illegal crossings.

The CBP has also partially closed other ports of entry during the past months, utilizing resources to process migrants and targeting smuggling networks.

To further address staffing shortages in Arizona, U.S. authorities have resorted to charter flights and redirected federal personnel, including air marshals and Federal Protective Service officers, to the border. The influx has exacerbated challenges, with humanitarian groups expressing concern about the well-being of stranded migrants, including infants and children, in remote desert areas.

The Lukeville area's emergence as a popular crossing point highlights the adaptability of traffickers, who strategically exploit Border Patrol staffing limitations.

The issue has become a focal point for voters, particularly Republicans, heading into the next presidential elections. A recent AP-NORC poll indicates that about half of U.S. adults prioritize increasing security at the U.S.-Mexico border, potentially posing a political challenge for President Joe Biden.

Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden AFP

The current debate on border security funding in Congress remains entangled with aid packages for Israel and Ukraine. President Biden has taken a more active role in the negotiations, saying he is willing to make "significant compromises on the border" as Republicans block the wartime aid in Congress.

"It's time to cut a deal that both sides can agree to," Biden's budget director, Shalanda Young, said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" about the impasse.

Migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border hit a daily record last Tuesday, as the amount of people making their way to the country continues to increase at a sustained pace.

Concretely, there were over 12,000 encounters, according to a report by Fox News, which cited multiple Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources.

The outlet specified that over 10,200 of them were encounters of illegal immigrants coming between ports of entry, and that the record number is reached when combining it with encounters at CBP's Office of Field Operations at ports of entry.

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