Tucson (Arizona) border crisis: Gov. Katie Hobbs demands resources from Biden administration after 17,500 immigrants were detained last week

CBP announced it will temporarily close a border crossing as part of its efforts to address staffing shortages.

The immigration crisis continues to worsen in one of the preferred entry points for illegal immigrants and human traffickers: Tucson, Arizona. The crisis has escalated and 17,500 immigrants were detained last week alone. The state's Democratic governor, Katie Hobbs, demanded action from the federal government as the Border Patrol (CBP) tries to make up for its lack of personnel.

Reinforcing personnel

The flow of migrants has gotten so out of control that the Border Patrol has announced that the Lukeville crossing - just a two-hour drive from Tucson - will be closed next Monday. The objective is to allocate more personnel to the detention and processing of migrants. The crossing will be completely closed, including to workers and tourists.

"In response to increased levels of migrant encounters at the Southwest Border, fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals, CBP is surging all available resources to expeditiously and safely process migrants," the agency said in a statement released Friday. It also announced the temporary closure of Lukeville.

CBP will continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation. 

As part of this effort to redirect available personnel, Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief, John R. Modlin, announced that the social media team would also be downsized to "maximize our available staffing in support of our current operational challenges."

Rampant numbers

The number of detentions in Tucson is climbing week by week. The southern border has experienced a peak. Last week alone more than 17,000 immigrants were detained. This is the most detentions the area has experienced and will go on record for the first month of fiscal year 2024. According to some estimates, it is the highest since records have been kept.

On average, Tucson officers have nearly 2,200 daily encounters with immigrants. These encounters are becoming increasingly more violent, according to Modlin.

Governor and senators demand action from the federal government

"This is an unacceptable outcome that further destabilizes our border," state Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said in a joint statement about the Lukeville crossing closure.

In the statement issued Friday, the three politicians called on the federal government to act "swiftly:" "The administration must send immediate resources to secure the border and help our communities."

Just a day earlier, Republican Rep. Juan Ciscomani sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requesting he deploy the National Guard to help control the border crisis. "The situation is far past a breaking point and those on the frontlines in this crisis are in need of immediate support," Ciscomani wrote in the letter.