By Corinne Murdock |
In honor of Juneteenth, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Tucson Field Office announced that hours for the Lukeville Port of Entry would be extended.
The announcement came out a day after CBP released the May numbers for illegal immigrant encounters — another record high. CBP has also faced an increase in drug and human trafficking. Earlier this month, CBP caught a trafficker passing through the Lukeville Port of Entry with 45 pounds of meth in a fuel tank. That’s over 20,400 grams, enough to cause an overdose in over 10,000 individuals. Overdose rates on meth vary according to drug purity and individual tolerance, but overdoses have been reported in those who ingested just several grams.
Earlier this month, the Lukeville Port of Entry’s asphalt repair was the Biden administration’s first completed project through funding the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law includes $3.4 billion for 26 construction and modernization projects at land ports of entry like the one in Lukeville. The GSA estimated that the billions will create an average of 6,000 jobs over the next 8 years.
The GSA also claimed that these ports’ commercial capacity limits were putting further strain on the ongoing supply chain crisis.
Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday last year, or “Emancipation Day.” The holiday celebrating former President Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves originated with small church gatherings in Galveston, Texas in 1866. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation three years prior in the midst of the Civil War. At the time, Texas was part of the Confederacy, which explained in part why the proclamation wasn’t honored immediately.
Union troops’ enforcement of Lincoln’s proclamation occurred June 19, when they arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform Texans that the Civil War had ended. Union Major-General Gordon Granger read aloud General Order No. 3 to the people of Galveston, declaring all slaves in Texas to be free.
Modern Juneteenth celebrations have also become an avenue for further social justice advocacy, such as adopting diversity, equity, and inclusion policies, according to the founder of D.C.-based Juneteenth Foundation, Laquan Austion.
The holiday comes across as controversial for those who believe that Independence Day on July 4, the commemoration of the Declaration of Independence’s ratification, serves as the formal holiday for celebrating freedom and unity.