From Mali, Congo, Colombia, Honduras and farther, asylum-seekers risk a sawed-off border gap near Lukeville

The controversial monthlong closure of the Lukeville-Sonoyta port in Arizona by the federal government and recent failed bipartisan legislation, complicate an already chaotic immigration system

by John Washington

March 12, 2024

(Administrator’s Note: While the reporting in this article is excellent, APA disagrees with the expert quoted as saying that the fact of having entered the country illegally will doom the claims of most of the asylum seekers. The Biden administration’s rule barring asylum for most who don’t enter using a special phone app violates a statutory provision allowing people to apply for asylum “irrespective of […] status” and is being challenged in federal court. Also, even those to whom the rule is applied in the meantime may qualify for one of two secondary forms of protection, including one that bars the removal to a country where they would likely be tortured.)

In mid-December, a group of about 20 men from Senegal, Mali and Guinea trudged east along the rutted dirt border road in Southern Arizona. Some of them wore flip flops, others were wrapped in blankets, some carried backpacks or held plastic bottles of water as they traveled north of Lukeville’s Mexican sister city, Sonoyta, Sonora. “Bonjour,” they said. 

They spoke French, Wolof, a few words of English. Read full article