U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has closed three Arizona highway checkpoints because of an overwhelming surge of illegal immigration at the border. Republican U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Texas) criticized the Biden administration for its unwillingness to face up to the impending full-blown border crisis.
“The border crisis is about to hit full force and the Biden administration’s response is … to do nothing.” Hawley tweeted on March 9.
A CBP spokesman said in a March 10 emailed statement that the checkpoints were closed in January “due to changes in illegal trafficking patterns.”
The spokesperson said, “In particular, there has been an increase in single adults at the Tucson and Three Points stations. For safety reasons, the basic manpower was previously retained. They have recently been removed from these stations to allow these agents to return to law enforcement duties.”
“We anticipate reopening these checkpoints based on manpower and activity level needs.” The spokesman added.
Roberta Jacobson, the Biden administration’s special envoy to the Southwest border, told reporters at a White House briefing Wednesday (March 10) that the administration’s “more humane” immigration policy could drive a surge in immigration at the southern border and encourage smugglers.
Jacobsen said, “Surge is often a response to hope, and after four years of suppressed demand, there is great hope for a more humane policy.”
While reiterating that the U.S.-Mexico border is “not open,” Jacobsen also expressed a desire to “expand safe and legal access to the United States.”
“We’re trying to communicate to everyone in the region that we will have a legal process in the future … but in the meantime, you can’t come in through informal means. It’s dangerous and most people will be sent out of the United States because that’s the truth of it.” She said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has authorized the deployment of 500 National Guard members to the southern border because of the dramatic increase in illegal immigration.
The Border Patrol apprehended about 90,000 people in the Rio Grande Valley throughout 2020. Governor Abbott said 108,000 people have been apprehended so far in 2021.