On our last trip to Mexico I wrote “Run for the Border.” You can read it HERE. There were two odd things that occurred on that long weekend that made me question our favorite vacation spot four hours south of home. First was getting pulled over by cops at the Mexican border town and being shaken down for $160.
But something else was odd. I noticed at least 1,000 military-aged men from all over the world, lined up on the Mexico side, waiting to walk into the United States. There were no women or children.
Then on the news yesterday in Arizona, we learned the border crossing at Lukeville is closed because the Border Patrol has such an influx of these military-aged men from Asia, Egypt and Africa to process — that they can no longer accommodate legal Americans or Mexicans crossing the border — either way.
Here’s a snippet from local Arizona news:
Lukeville border closed: How to get to Rocky Point and how much longer it will take
Esme Hernandez, a local business owner who enjoys traveling to the Mexican beach town of Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, didn’t mince words in reaction to the closure of the Lukeville-Sonoyta port of entry.
That border crossing provides the most direct route between Phoenix and Puerto Peñasco.
With Lukeville closed, you have to drive to other border crossings that are not closed and are several hundreds miles away and are said to be more dangerous areas to travel. Rocky Point is 62 miles south of Lukeville. I hope this is temporary and for the sake of people who need to cross the border — and the economy of the beach resort — it reopens soon. Personally, I can skip the beach vacation, although it will hurt the Puerto Penasco economy.
We had a tenant in Phoenix who had open heart surgery and went on disability. He decided to move out of our rental unit and move into his mom’s house in Puerto Penasco where he could live for free. But he has continued his medical appointments in the US. He can no longer travel here.
Then, we met a restaurant owner in Puerto Penasco who said they bought most things to run their business like meat, liquor etc. in the US. They can’t get here, either.
The town of Rocky Point, also known as Puerto Penasco, will have no tourists. It’s a shrimp fishing village and a tourist town. The people are going to suffer economically.
The closest town to Lukeville on the US side is called Why. It was “Y” based on the road going from Tuscan to Phoenix and Mexico with a Y turn. Arizona decided all towns had to have three letters so now it’s called Why.
There’s a border station. It’s on the other side of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument a few miles from the border in Why. The monument is gorgeous and home to two species of indigenous cacti found nowhere else. The migrants are camped out there because there are facilities. Border Control in Why has all its cages full of migrant men. (Have you ever heard about this?)
The migrants camping out in the National Monument are burning the cacti to stay warm.
We stopped at a gas station in Why on our last trip home (Population 30?) There was a brand new gas station and a family running it. It was a husband and wife with a baby. They were excited to tell us of their plans for a coffee shop and restaurant and welcomed us to come back soon.
This is so wrong on so many levels.
I’m not sure if anyone out of the Phoenix area has heard about this.
Have you? If so, was it on local or national news? Why do you think young men by the thousands are traveling here without any women or children?What do you think could be done about the border being closed to Mexican and American citizens?
This is a banner photo from the National Monument website.
The resort where we’ve been staying for the past year’s weekend getaways.
We love the beach. How perfect that we found a beach four hours south of Phoenix across the border in Mexico. With wide expanses of a white sandy beach, calm warm waters of the Sea of Cortez, we thought we found paradise.
Until this past weekend. It’s paradise until it’s not.
Two things freaked me out.
First, crossing the corder at a Lukeville, which is out in the middle of nowhere on the south side of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, I saw something I’ve never seen in the dozen or so times we’ve been there.
There were a thousand men lined up on foot to cross into the United States from Mexico. There were no women or children. They were young, all colors and presumably nationalities. I’ve seen news of massive border crossings in Texas, but nothing at Lukeville. This was the first time I’ve noticed anyone on foot.
Next, we had to run the gauntlet in the desperately poor town on the Mexican side of the border. Usually it’s without incident, but it’s shocking to see people living in abject poverty. It’s nothing like our lives in the United States. The speed limit is 25 mph which the signs say 40 kmh. We have to drive through window washers who jump in front of our car with a spray bottle. People are begging in wheel chairs, missing limbs. It’s so sad.
Once through the town the speed limit increases slowly. We were last in line of about seven cars and trucks when red lights flashed behind us. We pulled on the shoulder to let the vehicle pass, but it stopped behind us! We were pulled over in Mexico.
For what, we had no idea.
We were approached by two burly Mexican cops who told us to roll down all the windows, asked for my husband’s driver’s license and told us we had been speeding at 60 kmh. (Not true.)
They said they’d write a ticket and we had to pay at the courthouse before we continued. My husband asked where it was. They said they’d show us but they’d keep the driver’s license until we paid. Oh — and the courthouse was closed for the next two or three hours.
But they could do us a favor. Pay them $160 American dollars, they’d return the license and we could be on our way. Which we did.
It made us angry, but what else could we do? End up in a Mexican jail for not paying? Now I’m fearful of the drive back. We need to find an ATM in case we need cash again at the border town. I’ll be happy to be back in the USA.
However, I have some empathy for the people living in the squalor of the border town watching countless Americans driving through to get to the beach resorts an hour away — driving luxury cars, trucks and RVs. Pulling people over all day long for $160 a pop is a decent living.
It took us a bit of time to relax. We ate delicious meals, walked the beach and read.
Here are a few photos:
Would you want to come back anytime soon? Would you be afraid? Why or why not?