Katie Hobbs not deploying Arizona National Guard troops to closed port of entry

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs By Cameron Arcand | The Center Square

By Cameron Arcand | The Center Square

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs does not plan on deploying National Guard troops to Lukeville despite U.S. Customs and Border Protection shutting down the legal port of entry on Monday.

“We’re certainly in communication with folks on the ground, and we’re looking at all our options. It’s not something that they’re asking for right now,” Hobbs told The Center Square during a press gaggle at the state Capitol.

“We need the federal government to step up and do its job and secure our border,” she continued.

State Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, called on Hobbs to send authorities to the town on Friday.

“As our state’s top government official, she cannot turn a blind eye to the security threat directly impacting our citizens,” he said in a statement. “Forcing Arizonans to travel hours out of their way on routes vulnerable to cartel organizations, terrorists, and other criminals seeking to do harm is completely unacceptable.”

CBP ordered the closure of the port of entry due to the high number of migrant crossings into the Tucson Sector. Last week, the sector dealt with a record-breaking 17,500 apprehensions, which was up from over 15,300 the week prior, according to the sector’s Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin’s “Week in Review” posts. In addition, there were 10 “human smuggling events” and 131 “federal criminal cases,” among other issues. 

Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Juan Ciscomani, who represents parts of southern Arizona, called on the Biden administration to deploy the Arizona National Guard in a letter on Thursday.

“The situation is far past a breaking point and those on the frontlines of this crisis are in need of immediate support,” Ciscomani wrote. 

The Tucson Sector’s leadership faced criticism on Nov. 26 for cutting back on their communications amid the surge of migrants, The Center Square reported.  

“At this time, all available personnel are needed to address the unprecedented flow,” Modlin tweeted at the time. “The social media team will return once the situation permits.”

The crossing is typically how tourists get to Puerto Peñasco, also known as the beach community of Rocky Point in Mexico. It’s considered the safest way to get there, as United States government employees are only allowed to take Mexico’s Highway 8 due to the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for the country, according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico website

However, the crossing could potentially cause issues with agricultural transportation, particularly for winter crops. 

“This is a bad decision that impacts our border security, it hurts our economy because it’s putting a damper on trade and tourism,” Hobbs said.

The governor, as well as Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, released a joint statement on Friday condemning the closure of the Lukeville port of entry, which is being considered temporary but has no end in sight.

“Our offices are in constant contact with CBP leadership, Border Patrol Agents and CBP Officers, Mexican officials, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, and leadership at DHS as we monitor the situation,” the trio of Democrats said in the statement. “Enough is enough – Arizona deserves real solutions to our border crisis.”

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.