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Border at Sonoyta, SON.jpg
Border crossing between Sonoyta and Lukeville, Arizona
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Sonoyta Map
Coordinates: 31°51′41″N112°51′16″W / 31.86139°N 112.85444°W / 31.86139; -112.85444
CountryFlag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
State Sonora
Municipality Plutarco Elías Calles
Founded1693 (San Marcelo de Sonoyta)
400 m (1,300 ft)
Time zone UTC-7 (Pacific (US Mountain))
  Summer (DST) UTC-7 (No DST)
Postal code
Area code(s) 651
U.S.-Mexico border west of Sonoyta. Sonora is to the left (south). Border wall west of Sonoyta.jpg
U.S.-Mexico border west of Sonoyta. Sonora is to the left (south).

Sonoyta, Sonora is a town in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. It stands on the U.S.-Mexico border, facing Lukeville, Arizona, in the United States. It is the municipal seat of the municipality of Plutarco Elías Calles.

Sonora State of Mexico

Sonora, officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora, is one of 31 states that, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 federal entities of United Mexican States. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo. Sonora is bordered by the states of Chihuahua to the east, Baja California to the northwest and Sinaloa to the south. To the north, it shares the U.S.–Mexico border with the states of Arizona and New Mexico, and on the west has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of California.

Lukeville, Arizona Populated place in Arizona, United States

Lukeville is a small populated place on the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Pima County, Arizona, United States.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.



According to the 2010 census, the city had 12,849 inhabitants while the surrounding municipality had 15,652 inhabitants. There were 6,613 male inhabitants and 6,236 female. 96.1 percent of the population over five years of age are Roman Catholic, 3.0 percent are Evangelicals, and the remaining 0.9 percent belong to other religions.

Evangelicalism movement within Protestant Christianity

Evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message. The movement has had a long presence in the Anglosphere before spreading further afield in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries.


The first inhabitants of this region were the Tohono O'odham, who lived in the regions of Pinacate, Quitovac, and Sonoyta. The arrival of Jesuit missionaries to this zone changed their way of life. Therefore, compact communities were formed mainly on the banks of lakes and of the river. At the foothills of a spot known as Loma Alta, sprouted water from a fountain, called by the naturals Ṣon Oidag, O'odham for "base of the water". A missionary community was founded in Sonoyta in 1693 by Father Kino. It was called Nuestra Senora de Loreto y San Marcelo de Sonoyta.

In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics, human impact characteristics, and the interaction of humanity and the environment. Geographic regions and sub-regions are mostly described by their imprecisely defined, and sometimes transitory boundaries, except in human geography, where jurisdiction areas such as national borders are defined in law.

Tohono Oodham group of Native American people

The Tohono O'odham are a Native American people of the Sonoran Desert, residing primarily in the U.S. state of Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora. Tohono O'odham means "Desert People". The federally recognized tribe is known as the Tohono O'odham Nation.

Society of Jesus male religious congregation of the Catholic Church

The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church which originated in sixteenth-century Spain. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

In 1836 they discovered adjoining mines. Sonoyta was dependent to the municipality of the District of Altar during periods of the 19th century. After the Revolution it belonged to the municipality of Caborca, Sonora through the Law No. 136 of July 9, 1952. Then it separated from the municipality of Caborca and belonged to the municipality of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora until August 1989, when a new municipality was created and called General Plutarco Elías Calles, as a social, political, and historic need.

For a long time the border crossing was very busy with imports/exports, but after an internal change to customs laws in Mexico, import/export business dwindled. This led to heavy migration to other cities during the late 1980s to mid 1990s.


The Municipality has 10 preschools, 15 elementary schools, 5 junior high and high schools, 2 medium professional and a 1 accredited college.


Sonoyta is situated at an important crossroads. Federal Highway 2, which runs parallel to the international border, crosses here. Federal Highway 8 leading from Lukeville, Arizona (U.S.-Mexico border of Sonoyta) to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, also crosses the city.

Federal Highway 2 is a free part of the federal highway corridors that runs along the Mexico–United States border. The highway is in two separate improved segments, starting in the west at Tijuana, Baja California, on the Pacific coast and ending in the east in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on the Gulf of Mexico. Fed. 2 passes through the border states of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. It has a total length of 1,963 kilometres (1,220 mi); 1,319 kilometres (820 mi) in the west and 644 kilometres (400 mi) in the east.

Federal Highway 8 is a free part of the federal highways corridors in Sonora. It is connected to the roadway that transitions from the border post at Lukeville, Arizona where it connects with Arizona State Route 85, proceeds south through Puerto Peñasco with Sonoyta, Sonora, and intersects with Fed. 2. It continues through the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve until ending at Puerto Peñasco, a length of 100 km (62 mi).

Present day

Sonoyta is well known as an illegal immigrant crossing-point to the United States. Many migrants use the town to make final preparations for a treacherous trek through the Sonoran Desert.[ citation needed ] On this long desert march, migrants often face death, especially during the summer season.

Sonoran Desert North American desert

The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert.

Conversely, the town is used as a crossover point for American tourists headed to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora or other cities in Northern Mexico. Puerto Peñasco, a popular beach resort city, is located about 100 km (62 mi) southwest on Highway 8.

Sonoyta features many urban features, as well as a downtown with many small stores and markets. Services of major companies, such as Pemex, are available, and major airports are located in Mexicali, Baja California; Hermosillo, Sonora; Yuma, Arizona; Phoenix, Arizona; and Tucson, Arizona, all within five hours or less by car. Puerto Peñasco International Airport also serves Sonoyta residents since 2008, with flights to other points in Mexico.

The border between Sonoyta and Lukeville, Arizona, is open from 6:00 a.m. until 12:00 Midnight MST.

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Puerto Peñasco Town in Sonora, Mexico

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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument national monument in the United States

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Eusebio Kino Italian Jesuit missionary

Eusebio Francisco Kino was a Jesuit, missionary, geographer, explorer, cartographer and astronomer born in the Territory of the Bishopric of Trent, then part of the Holy Roman Empire. For the last 24 years of his life he worked in the region then known as the Pimería Alta, modern-day Sonora in Mexico and southern Arizona in the United States. He explored the region and worked with the indigenous Native American population, including primarily the Tohono O'Odham, Sobaipuri and other Upper Piman groups. He proved that the Baja California Peninsula is not an island by leading an overland expedition there. By the time of his death he had established 24 missions and visitas.

El Desemboque is a town located 376 km from Hermosillo on the shore of Gulf of California in the Mexican state of Sonora; coordinates N 29° 30' 13", W 112° 23' 43". It is part of the Municipality of Pitiquito, and is one of two major villages on the Seri Indian communal property, the other being Punta Chueca. The Spanish name refers to the fact that the Río San Ignacio meets the sea near that point. The Seri name is literally where the clams lie. It has been a good location to find the small clams Protothaca grata (haxöl). According to the Mexican census of 2010, the town had a population of 287 inhabitants. (The town of El Desemboque described in the prior text is not located in the Pitiquito municipality of Sonora. It is a Seri village about 120 km north of Punta Chueca north of Bahia Kino where the dry Rio Ignacio meets the Gulf of California. The El Desemboque in Pitiquito is west of Caborca at the mouth of Rio Concepcion and is a small village catering to weekenders from Caborca. The Seri may have lived at the El Desemboque west of present day Caborca in prehistoric times before Spanish arrived as well as the current Seri town north of Bahia Kino. Their oral history has them living as far north as present day Puerto Penasco which was also an O'Odham settlement as well as present-day Bahia Kino and Isla Tiburon .)

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Plutarco Elías Calles Municipality Municipality in Sonora, Mexico

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El Camino del Diablo

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Puerto Peñasco Municipality is a municipality in Sonora in north-western Mexico. As of 2015, the municipality had a total population of 62,177 inhabitants. The only locality with a significant population is the municipal seat, also named Puerto Peñasco, which contains almost 99% of the municipality's population.

San Luis Río Colorado is a municipality in Sonora state, in northwestern Mexico.

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Mexican ironwood carving is a Mexican tradition of carving the wood of the Olneya tesota tree, a Sonora Desert tree commonly called ironwood.

Lukeville Port of Entry

The Lukeville, Arizona Port of Entry was established by Executive Order in 1949. It has primarily been a port of entry for passenger vehicles and pedestrians. It connects Mexican Federal Highway 8 with Arizona State Route 85. Modifications made using funding from the Federal Highway Administration and Mexican businesses in 2011 facilitate the inspection of trucks and improve general throughput. Much of the traffic using this crossing is people traveling to the popular beach town of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.

Grupos Beta is a service by the National Institute of Migration (INM) of Mexico offering water, medical aid, and information to immigrants at risk. The first Grupos Beta was started in Beta Tijuana in 1990. Grupo Beta's primary role is to protect the Human Rights of migrants regardless of their immigration status as stated in their motto, “vocation, humanitarianism and loyalty.” Members of Grupos Beta are generally selected from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. They are then given extensive training that primarily emphasizes providing first aid, social services, access to shelters, search and rescue, and have specialized training in water and air rescue services. After their promotions and intense training, members of Grupos Beta earn a pay increase, a life insurance policy, and they get 15 vacation days every six months. Grupos Beta provide transportation aid to get migrants back home and stress they do not provide transportation aid to migrants to get into the United States. Grupo Beta's blue flags alert migrants to water stations in the desert and advise migrants that the area is patrolled by Grupos Beta. There are now 21 Grupos Beta operated on three agency levels within the Mexican government in the states of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Chiapas and Oaxaca.


Coordinates: 31°51′41″N112°51′16″W / 31.86139°N 112.85444°W / 31.86139; -112.85444