As I’ve mentioned previously, this column is written a month before it is published. At the time of this writing, Customs and Border Patrol have closed the Lukeville port of entry to Rocky Point. The ensuing chaos, consternation and teeth gnashing has been on going. What was once an easy three or three-and-a-half-hour drive from Phoenix or Tucson has become a 7 to 10-hour ordeal depending upon which port of entry you choose (Nogales or San Luis).
Interestingly, on the first official day of closure, a friend posted a video of hundreds of people walking from Mexico into the U.S., across the unguarded Lukeville border crossing. So, you may ask, what is the point of abandoning the port of entry to assist with apprehending and controlling illegals entering the country elsewhere, while leaving the existing border crossing completely unguarded and allowing anyone who is ambulatory to simply walk into the U.S.? The answer is, in my opinion, politics.
The closure smacks of being a purely political move…to what end I do not know, but can assume. The ill-advised closing of the Lukeville port of entry hurts so many people and, more importantly, so many businesses in Puerto Peñasco that it’s impact is hard to quantify. As this is being written, the closure is only a few days old so the true results of it will not be felt for a week or so, but rest assured the effects will be devastating to the local economy as well as the thousands of citizens, both U.S. and Mexican, affected by it.
The alleged reason for this drastic, ill advised, move is that the CBP needs “all hands-on deck” to help control an influx of illegals along the southern border. As if that is some kind of new thing that we’ve not heard before. The question is, with such a dire need, why not relocate some people from the Canadian border where there are many, many small and insignificant border checkpoints that attract, maybe, five or six cars a day, (if that) to help with the immediate crisis?
Worst still, the illegals that they are apprehending are not being turned back the way they came…no… they are being “processed,” whatever the hell that means. Instead, the powers that be, in their infinite, wisdom decided to shut down the major artery to what can only be described as the prosperous and booming city of Puerto Peñasco, forcing people who want to travel there to drive over 120 miles (240 miles round trip) and three and a half hours (again, each way) out of their way and making weekend trips simply not worth the effort. Costing many people a lot of money and hardship. What a great idea…eh?
Consider, too, the time of year that this patently political move was made; Holiday season! It was as if the folks who decided this fiasco was a good idea, figured out the absolute worst possible time to do it for maximum impact on our local economy and for the folks who want to spend their holidays in our fair city.
While we citizens scratch our collective heads at this egregious abuse of regulatory power, our politicians (in both nations) are, apparently, less than useless at solving what seems to be an easily solvable dilemma. With the vast resources of the U.S. federal government and the billions of wasted taxpayer dollars floating around, one would think the problem could be solved quickly, or never have arisen to begin with. Further, while I understand that the CBP can close the border for people and vehicle coming IN to the U.S., why is it that American citizens are not allowed to leave the U.S. on highway 85?
Let me ask, rhetorically of course, when was the last time anyone has felt that the U.S. government has done anything for the average citizen who is not part of some ‘special interest’ group? I’ll wait.
Other than my friends and family not being able to come for the holidays, this closure does not affect me or the many other expats who live here full time. However, medical issues do crop up from time to time with us oldsters, and I’m not so sure that a 7-hour drive to get to the ‘states is a good thing. But of course, our leaders don’t consider that a valid concern, do they?
Now the foregoing may be a moot point by the time this column is actually published. I hope so anyway. If the border is open and the nightmare is over by the time you read this, then please consider what the exercise showed; If “they” can do it once, “they” can do it again. Write, call or otherwise contact your representatives and politicians. Insist that this type of political black mail be put in our collective rear view mirror and never again visited on you, your state or our beautiful Peñasco.