Center for American Progress

Arizona Land Ports of Entry Modernization Projects

Arizona Land Ports of Entry Modernization Projects

A $500 million investment from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will allow two land ports of entry on the Arizona-Mexico border to be modernized and a new one to be constructed, facilitating safe and efficient flow of people and goods in the region.

Part of a Series
Traffic from Mexico waits to cross into the United States in Nogales, Arizona, on February 26, 2013. (Getty/John Moore)
  • Project names: Raul Hector Castro Land Port of Entry (LPOE); Douglas LPOE; San Luis I LPOE

  • Program: Real Property Activities

  • Law: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

  • Recipient: Raul Hector Castro LPOE; Douglas LPOE; San Luis I LPOE

  • Investment amount: $534,000,000 total ($184 million for Raul Hector Castro LPOE; $200 million for Douglas LPOE; and $150 million for San Luis I LPOE)

  • Cities: Douglas and San Luis

  • State: Arizona

  • Congressional districts: 6 and 7

  • Construction start date: 2023–2028

This profile is part of a project that finds and tracks the public and private sector investments generated or supported by three of the Biden administration’s economic laws. These laws make investments in the American people, helping to grow the middle class, lowering the cost of living, and setting up America to better compete and cooperate in the world. Pulling directly from several sources, this catalog provides users with publicly available information such as the number of jobs created, workforce training partnerships, and storytellers benefiting from particular projects, among other detailed information. The profile below expands on the economic, practical, and climate impacts of just one of the 35,000 investments that can be found in the Biden Administration Investment Tracker. It may be updated to account for future project developments.

Explore the tracker

The land ports of entry (LPOE) in Douglas and San Luis, Arizona, are growing older and inefficient, no longer meeting the needs of the vibrant commercial and agricultural sectors of the region. Thanks to a $534 million grant from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—also known as the bipartisan infrastructure law—each will be modernized and a new LPOE will be constructed 4.5 miles east of Douglas to dramatically improve and expand commercial inspection capacity. These improvements will increase security, lower emissions from idling trucks, improve road safety, and allow freer and safer flow of agricultural workers, tourists, and goods through the ports.

Historical context

Two of Arizona’s existing LPOEs—also known as border stations—that sit on the Arizona-Mexico border are growing older and no longer meet the needs of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the people and goods flowing across the U.S.-Mexico border:

  • “A port of entry is a facility that provides controlled entry into, or departure from, the United States for people or materials. The Port of entry houses the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other federal inspection agencies responsible for enforcing federal laws. The State of Arizona has ports of entry into the United States in six locations along its border with Mexico.” – Cochise County, Arizona, website, last accessed April 2023
  • “The Raul H. Castro Land Port of Entry, located in Douglas, Arizona, is a critical facility for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission in southern Arizona. Today, the 4.8-acre federal facility, originally built in 1933 and expanded in 1993, is not able to fully meet CBP’s mission requirements. In its current configuration, both inbound and outbound trucks maneuver within the same undersized commercial vehicle inspection compound, which slows traffic and poses safety hazards. The port’s small commercial inspection dock consists of just five bays. Furthermore, northbound pedestrians need to cross the path of northbound commercial trucks, posing a further safety hazard for people traveling on foot.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
  • “The San Luis I Land Port of Entry is a critical entry point to the U.S. for migrant workers who provide essential agricultural labor in southern Arizona, a major source of winter produce for Americans. The port experiences high volumes of traffic during peak hours, which can negatively impact commercial activity in downtown San Luis.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
  • The existing Castro LPOE has placed a commercial inspection center in downtown Douglas, which has potentially held back the city from developing “service, hospitality, travel, and tourism industries.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023

Project summary

With funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, the U.S. General Service Administration (GSA) will construct a new LPOE and modernize two existing LPOEs in southern Arizona:

  • Raul Hector Castro LPOE project:
    • The GSA has proposed a “complete modernization of the facility based on the findings of a 2019 feasibility study. The project proposes relocation of commercial activities to a newly constructed stand-alone commercial LPOE 4.5 miles away.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
    • “Once commercial activities are transitioned to the new Douglas port, the modernization and reconfiguration of this legacy facility will replace the systems and buildings that are undersized and well beyond their useful life. The Castro LPOE renovation will include replacement and expansion of pedestrian and vehicular inspection and administrative facilities to meet CBP’s current standards, and provide a safe and efficient processing of privately-owned vehicle and pedestrian traffic.” – U.S. General Service Administration, last accessed April 2023
    • “More specifically, the project will include the phased construction of the following: Three additional pedestrian inspection booths (from 3 to 6 booths); Three additional vehicular traffic inspection facilities (from 7 to 10 booths); Covered secondary vehicle inspection area; Administrative and support buildings; SENTRI program enrollment center; Employee parking” – Cochise County, Arizona, website, last accessed April 2023
  • Douglas LPOE project:
    • “The new Douglas Land Port of Entry (LPOE) is a planned commercial port construction project 4.5 miles west of the existing Raul Hector Castro LPOE in Douglas, Arizona. Upon its completion, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will permanently relocate commercial inspection operations from the Castro LPOE to the newly constructed dedicated commercial Douglas LPOE. The project … will significantly expand commercial vehicle inspection capacity and allow the processing of oversized mining equipment too large to cross through the Castro LPOE.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
  • San Luis I LPOE project:
    • “The project includes site development and infrastructure, expanding northbound privately owned vehicle (POV) lanes from eight to 16, primary and preprimary vehicle inspection canopies, and secondary vehicle processing area. Southbound POV improvements include expanded southbound facilities with fixed inspection infrastructure for CBP’s mission, primary and secondary inspection and processing building, and employee parking. It also includes increased pedestrian inspection lanes from 10 to 14 as well as a new administrative facility to support the CBP mission.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023

Outcomes, improvements, and practical impact

These new LPOEs will bolster the U.S. supply chain, allow for the redevelopment and improvement of key commercial areas in the city of Douglas, and improve security:

  • “In 2019, the Castro LPOE processed about 26,000 trucks, 1.6 million cars, and 833,000 people, making Douglas one of Arizona’s and the region’s principal gateways for trade and tourism with Mexico. The dedicated commercial port in Douglas will absorb commercial inspection operations from the Castro LPOE and support the transport of automotive, aerospace, farming, electrical, construction, medical, mining, and refined copper wiring goods and products. As a non-commercial port, the San Luis I LPOE does not play a role in the movement of goods across the border. However, the port is vital to the food industry and related supply chains, as the key regional gateway for essential migrant field laborers. The agricultural sector in Yuma County supplies much of the winter [produce] consumed in the U.S., making the effective crossing of seasonal agricultural workers crucial to our food supply chain.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
  • “The Castro LPOE is undersized and lacks the area necessary for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s commercial inspection mission. Because the primary booths are located immediately north of the international boundary, CBP does not have a pre-primary inspection area, limiting their ability to identify vehicles for additional inspection. The new commercial port will have a dedicated pre-primary inspection area and lane segmentation to distribute flows into the U.S. between general, empty, and Free and Secure Trade or Trusted Traveler shipments. The San Luis I modernization will replace building systems and provide the infrastructure for CBP to use all of its current inspection technology. The redesigned port improves pedestrian safety and simplifies the path to downtown San Luis, which may persuade more drivers to walk.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
  • The GSA has “coordinated with the City of Douglas to collaboratively deliver utilities and attract a broadband internet service provider to their small, rural community. The federal project requires broadband support and will improve the Douglas community’s internet service. Industrial warehouses around the existing port can be redeveloped into active, vibrant uses and generate more economic activity downtown.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
  • As a result of the San Luis I modernization project, local conditions will be improved by “reducing vehicle and pedestrian conflicts; Dispersing vehicle traffic entering the U.S. onto more corridors to open up more streets of downtown to commercial development; Directing all pedestrian traffic onto the improved sidewalks of Main Street.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023

Climate impact

By incorporating energy- and water-efficient design elements and lowering the amount of carbon emissions produced by cars idling in lines to pass through the LPOEs, these projects will contribute to federal efforts to both halt and deal with the consequences of climate change:

  • According to the GSA, for both the new and renovated LPOEs, the “designs will increase energy and water efficiency (including renewable energy and fossil fuel-free measures), adhere to sustainable design principles, and minimize climate risk liabilities above the minimum performance criteria in a life cycle cost-effective manner. In San Luis, current evening traffic back-ups for vehicles entering Mexico extend five miles into and beyond downtown San Luis. This idling traffic produces significant carbon emissions. Redesigning the port and working with the federal government of Mexico to potentially realign their port egress will significantly reduce wait times and resulting carbon emissions. Replacing inefficient buildings with new high-performance green buildings will dramatically reduce energy use by at least 30% and therefore avoid the associated greenhouse gas emissions over the future life of the facility.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
  • These projects “are aligned with the Biden-Harris Administration’s Buy Clean Initiative, which promotes American-made construction materials with lighter environmental footprints … allowing the project to plan for LEED Platinum certification and incorporate low-embodied carbon asphalt, concrete and steel, as well as emerging technologies and other measures to improve efficiency and reduce operational emissions.” – U.S. General Services Administration, December 19, 2022

Racial equity and justice impact 

The new sites will improve air quality for low-income communities living near the LPOEs and allow migrant workers to travel through the ports more efficiently, thereby improving quality of life for them and their families:

  • “Diverting heavy industrial mining equipment away from low-income residential areas to the dedicated commercial port in Douglas is a small step toward environmental justice and improved air quality … During San Luis’ peak agricultural season, it’s common to see thousands of people huddled in line to cross through the San Luis I LPOE in the chilly, pre-dawn morning hours. Thousands of migrant field workers travel through the port daily, with commutes exceeding seven or more hours from their homes in Mexico to the fields where they work. Improving efficiency will benefit the quality of life for these essential migrant workers and their families.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023

Economic impact

The ports already drive economic activity in the cities where they are located. By renovating the ports to increase efficiency and traffic through them, this project will increase this existing economic and commercial activity:

  • “About 70% of the City of Douglas’ retail tax revenue comes from the millions of people who cross through the Castro LPOE annually and collectively spend about $740 million. Nearly 4,000 of them are Agua Prieta residents who cross the port on their commute to work in Douglas and patronize local restaurants, stores, gas stations, and other businesses. The new planned commercial port in Douglas is spurring the development of a new industrial zone about 4.5 miles west of the Castro LPOE in Cochise County. GSA is working with local governments and planning agencies to develop a new utility corridor running along State Route 80 to the new Douglas LPOE. The corridor will feature the installation of new infrastructure to accommodate commercial vehicles and related commercial activities. The port project will also accelerate the expansion of broadband internet service to the port and the greater Douglas community. Agriculture is a major economic driver for the City of San Luis’ economy, and is part of Yuma Country’s larger agricultural sector, which collectively grows melons, broccoli, and up to 90% of winter leafy greens U.S. consumers enjoy. San Luis is also a popular local shopping destination. Consumer retail purchases account for 80% of the city’s retail tax revenue, much of it coming from Mexican visitors who shop, and dine at local businesses.” – U.S. General Services Administration, last accessed April 2023
  • “The addition of a new port of entry, and the renovation of the existing port in Douglas, are estimated to bring an additional $10.8 – $20 million per year in revenue to the region. Initially, there will be the need for approximately 110 new employees, which could double within the decade. The improvements are anticipated to increase traffic at the local Bisbee-Douglas International Airport, boost the student population at the nearby Cochise College campus, and increase demand for residential housing in the immediate area.” – Cochise County, Arizona, website, last accessed April 2023

Official supporting statements

  • U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ): “I was proud to help secure this $100 million investment for San Luis Land Port of Entry while shaping the Inflation Reduction law, building on the historic investments in Ports of Entry included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to strengthen Arizona’s border security and keep our communities safe and secure.”– U.S. General Services Administration, December 19, 2022
  • U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ): “One of my top priorities since being sworn into the U.S. Senate has been to secure the funding necessary to rebuild the San Luis I Port of Entry, and upgrade critical port of entry and border security infrastructure throughout Arizona. These investments will boost our economy, strengthen our supply chains, create jobs, and help stop the flow of illegal drugs. That’s why I worked with Republicans and Democrats to secure funding for our land Ports of Entry in the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, and worked with Administrator Carnahan to ensure all aspects of the San Luis I project were completed, thanks to funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. Now, our border personnel will be better equipped to expedite cross-border travel and trade while stopping illegal cargo.” – U.S. General Services Administration, December 19, 2022
  • U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ):“Modernizing our aging land ports of entries has been a priority of mine, which is why I specifically fought for inclusion of funds for San Luis I in the infrastructure law. I applaud the quick disbursement of these funds which will allow for a single construction phase to create a state-of-the-art port of entry for safer and more efficient processing times. These are the types of congressional actions needed to bring both economic and practical benefits to the borderlands and throughout the state.” – U.S. General Services Administration, October 10, 2022

Selected clips 

  • “San Luis Port of Entry receives funding for project expansion” – KYMA, December 19, 2022
  • “2 Arizona border towns receive millions of dollars to modernize their ports of entry” – AZ Central, December 20, 2022
  • “GSA to Spend $3.4 Billion to Update 26 Land Ports of Entry” – Transport Topics, December 14, 2022

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

Explore The Series

President Joe Biden’s policies are upgrading America’s infrastructure, prompting a renaissance in American manufacturing, and accelerating the country’s transition to a clean energy future.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.