A remote Arizona border crossing that was shuttered last month to help strained immigration authorities cope with a surge in migrants in the nearby desert will reopen this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Tuesday evening, the New York Times reports. The agency did not explain why it had decided to reopen the crossing, and it did not say whether there had been any recent shift in the daily arrival of hundreds of migrants who unlawfully slip through gaps in the border wall in the deserts before surrendering to immigration authorities. The crossing in the tiny border town of Lukeville, Ariz., was a legal passage between Mexico and the United States vital to workers, families and businesses. Roughly 2,000 to 3,000 people a day crossed north, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The next-closest crossing is several hours away by car.
The closure of the Lukeville crossing point on Dec. 4 had crippled local economies in Arizona towns that rely on a steady stream of tourists traveling south to the Mexican beach town of Puerto Peñasco, and had drawn condemnations from residents and elected officials alike. Business had dried up at restaurants, gas stations and travel agencies along the way, and people who work and live on opposite sides of the border were cut off from family. On Tuesday, residents and Arizona elected officials who had accused the Biden administration of mishandling a crisis greeted the news of the reopening with relief. In addition to reopening the port of entry in Lukeville, Customs and Border Protection officials said they would also resume some suspended operations at other border crossings, including allowing pedestrian traffic at the San Ysidro crossing in San Diego and allowing vehicle crossings on an international bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas.