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Close up of Border Patrol at the San Diego and Mexico international border wall, May 12, 2023. (Photo: Aaron J. Hill/Shutterstock)

Lukeville Closure Highlights Biden Border Failure

Republicans, Governor express concerns over Biden border policy

By Steve Kirwan, December 19, 2023 9:05 am

Despite Governor Hobbs and Republican legislature pressure, the Biden administration continues to deny the border crisis. In a letter to President Biden, AZ Governor Katie Hobbs implored the President to reopen the Lukeville port of entry and to reimburse the state over $512M

to cover processing and transportation costs for the tens of thousands of immigrants that have stormed the border and continue to flow into Arizona.

The primary concern is the impact of the port closure. Instead of preventing illegal crossings, Biden’s action created more chaos, allowing illegal crossers to enter unchallenged and removing what little deterrence Border Protection provides. To that end, House Speaker Ben Toma and 30 other Republican members signed and sent Biden a letter requesting the Lukeville port’s reopening immediately. However, unlike the more money-centric request from Hobbs, the GOP letter focused primarily on how unfettered border crossings impact crime, health, economics, and other social issues.

These competing requests prefaced an about-face by the Governor calling for Biden to authorize the deployment of the Arizona National Guard to the port at a cost to the state of $5M.

In a statement posted on X on December 8, 2023, she said, “The federal government must act immediately to solve the unmitigated crisis caused by the Lukeville Port of Entry closure.”

The post continued, “Today, I sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to reassign National Guard members to assist in its reopening, as well as reimburse the $512,529,333 federal border inaction has cost us.”

 

In the GOP letter to Biden, Speaker Toma, who is running for Congress in CD8 and would have a federal role if successful, stated, “Securing the border is supposed to be the federal government’s job. But the willful inaction by President Biden is causing irreparable harm. Arizona’s Democratic leaders, Governor Hobbs and Attorney General Mayes, also ignore calls to defend the state and hold the federal government accountable. When Republicans in the Legislature specifically funded a mission of the National Guard to provide support to law enforcement on the border, Governor Hobbs cut that mission short to instead aid the transportation and housing of illegal aliens. Arizonans can count on House Republicans to pursue meaningful policy and budgetary solutions in the upcoming legislative session to protect Arizona’s border, border communities, and the people we are elected to represent.”

Given the Biden administration’s continued silence on addressing the invasion at the southern US border, it’s unclear whether either of these letters will compel Biden to act. In light of the US House Republican embargo of funding for Biden’s war in Ukraine, it’s conceivable that he may negotiate for some action on border security. But in the meantime, it appears that both Republicans and Democrats will continue to pressure the President to do something to stem the relentless assault on the border.

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