Arizona Highway Checkpoints Shut Down by CBP as Border Crisis Grows

By Cathy Burke | Thursday, 11 March 2021 03:30 PM

Customs and Border Protection is reportedly shutting down three highway checkpoints in Arizona as the agency shifts personnel to handle a surge of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The agency is closing checkpoints in Willcox, Ariz., until further notice to redirect staff to the crisis points, according to
Fox News, which cited an internal document dated Tuesday.

"Tucson Sector has redirected manpower, based on operational needs in response to shifting traffic patterns, resulting in the closure of several tactical checkpoints in southeastern Arizona,” CBP told Fox News in a statement. "We expect to re-open these checkpoints as manpower and activity levels dictate.”

Fox News reported that an unnamed CBP official said checkpoints had been closed in early January due to shifting migrant patterns in the area, with limited staff left in place for security purposes.

The latest move removes the checkpoints entirely in order to free up additional manpower to deal with the crisis, according to Fox News.

The number of illegal immigrant children in custody along the border has tripled in the past two weeks to more than 3,250 and, of that number, more than 1,360 have been held for longer than the allowed 72 hours, according to Fox News.

An anticipated CBP report this week is expected to show there were roughly 100,000 apprehensions last month,
National Review reported.

"This is exactly what happened to us in 2019 at the height of the crisis before we were able to get the tools, policies and authorities we needed to address it," Mark Morgan, a former acting CBP commissioner during the Trump administration, told Fox News. "We were shutting down lanes, we were pulling resources off what I referred to as our national security mission to deal with the humanitarian crisis."

He added: "As you’re looking at daily numbers between 4,500 and 5,000 a day, I knew this was coming."

Morgan said closing checkpoints could allow criminal illegal immigrants and drugs to be more easily brought into the U.S.

"When you start closing down interior checkpoints or lanes at ports of entry at the border, you are absolutely increasing the cartel’s ability to smuggle drugs into the country," he told Fox News, adding that closing down checkpoints "means there’s no one there and cars just drive on by."

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden
announced a program to help children fleeing violence in Central America — stoking more concerns about the border influx.

White House border coordinator Roberta Jacobson told reporters the Biden administration is restarting the Central American Minors program for children, which, between 2014 and 2017, allowed children fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply in their home countries to settle in the United States.

Former President Donald Trump ended the program in 2017 as he worked to stop illegal immigration into the U.S.