Arizona Governor Implements ‘Operation SECURE’ in Response to Increase in Illegal Border Crossings

A white minivan carrying a family of illegal immigrants made its way to a federal processing center, navigating a dust-strewn road in Lukeville, AZ, just two miles from the Mexican border. Dozens of individuals milled about large military-style tents, some wearing slippers and pajamas in the chilly morning air, as they waited to be processed.

There was a noticeable tension in the air as new arrivals rapidly joined the growing line, ready to board white buses that would transport them to processing centers in Casa Grande and Tucson, Arizona. The situation only seemed to be worsening even after the Biden administration had shut down the Lukeville Port of Entry to manage the rising tide of illegal border crossings.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent revealed that their station was barely coping with the constant inflow of illegal arrivals. “We’re stretched thin,” the agent confessed. Groups of immigrants struggled through the desert to reach the facility, leaving behind discarded clothing, water bottles, and backpacks on the ground.

The majority of agents not reassigned to field work were occupied with data inputting at the port of entry and the facility. The CBP was confronted by a constant influx of single adults and family units, who after being processed at the station, were released to welcome centers in Phoenix.

Despite the CBP’s efforts to deter illegal crossings, hundreds of adult males were reported to have illegally crossed the border fence in the recent days. The agency continues to deploy additional personnel, transportation, processing, and humanitarian resources to the region, as per a CBP spokesperson.

The government’s decision to close the Lukeville Port of Entry drove Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs to launch “Operation SECURE” on December 8. The operation, designed to mobilize state resources, called for the reopening of the port and critically emphasized border security and trade.

Furthermore, Governor Hobbs requested that a new border security office be established within the Department of Homeland Security to bolster local, state, and federal coordination. The state government demanded almost half a million dollars in reimbursement for ongoing border operations as a result of the federal government’s failure to secure the Arizona border.

The sudden economic halt in Lukeville took its toll on local businesses, resulting in a near standstill. The local post office, established in 1969, was overwhelmed with undelivered packages and an uncertain future.

As the crisis deepens, and with the impact on local economy becoming increasingly visible, Lukeville is anxiously awaiting a change in the ongoing situation.


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