Here we are talking about the Governor of Arizona Constructed a Border Wall of Shipping Crates in Closing Months of Office. Before he turns over control of his office to his Democratic successor in January, Arizona’s Republican governor is erecting an improvised new barrier made of shipping containers along a portion of the US-Mexico border.
To close holes in Donald Trump’s patchy border wall, Doug Ducey is leading a project that involves installing double-stacked old shipping containers through several miles of national forest.
The governor has announced plans to extend the rusting hulks up to 10 miles, for $95 million (£78 million). They currently stretch for more than three miles through Coronado national forest territory, south of Tucson. They are covered in razor wire and have metal fragments jammed into holes.
The region is a federal territory that the US Forest Service looks after and features mountain ranges that unexpectedly rise out of the desert and a varied ecosystem of flora and animals.
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To deter migrants and asylum seekers, Ducey had initially tried out a scattering of shipping containers in Yuma, in the southwest corner of the state, which borders California and Mexico, in August.
When Donald Trump was president, he imposed the Title 42 rule in 2020, closing ports of entry to most people seeking asylum in the US. Since then, individuals have looked for openings elsewhere to ask border officers for asylum. Despite a protracted legal dispute, the regulation still seems to be scheduled to cease later this month.
To erect used shipping containers near Yuma, Ducey issued an executive order in August. Eleven days later, workers had put in 130 of the “22ft-high, double stacked, state-owned, 8,800lb, 9x40ft containers, linked together and welded shut containers.”
In an October lawsuit, Ducey argued that Arizona has the constitutional right to defend itself against an invasion, citing “countless migrants” who would bring with them “a mix of the drug, crime, and humanitarian issues.” He also claimed that the federal land along the border known as the Roosevelt Reservation belongs to the state, not the federal government.
US lawyers responded vehemently, disputing the allegations. By putting the containers on federal and tribal territory there, according to the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Cocopah Tribe, Ducey was breaking the law. The agency demanded that the state take the containers away in a letter.
However, the state hasn’t, which has given it the confidence to start the larger project that is currently moving along quickly more than 300 miles to the east. Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County supports the new set of shipping containers being erected in his jurisdiction in the hopes that “it will deter crime and reduce criminal conduct.”
The Santa Cruz county sheriff, David Hathaway, warned the Nogales International newspaper that anyone trying to bring the metal boxes into his area will be jailed for illegal dumping as the line of containers snakes westward toward the neighboring county.
Dinah Bear, an attorney and former general counsel for the executive office of the White House’s council on environmental quality, called Ducey’s lawsuit “shockingly bad” and “frivolous.”
There is “absolutely no doubt” that this is both public and federal property, she continued, thus “there is no legal distinction between the area they’re putting the shipping containers on and Grand Canyon national park.”
She stated that US Forest Service officials “would demand a court injunction from a judge… ” to halt the project. They won’t engage in gunfire with state police at the border or detain the governor at the [state] capitol.
The case is being presided over by Phoenix-based federal judge David Campbell, although no hearing has yet been scheduled. Given the backlog in the courts and the impending holidays, Bear declared, “The clock is ticking.”
After defeating Republican Kari Lake in the midterm elections, Katie Hobbs, the future Democratic governor of Arizona, will take office on January 2. She has declared that she will remove the containers.
Campbell will probably order the removal, according to Bear. However, before that occurs, a contractor named AshBritt, a company that specializes in catastrophe restoration is laying them down. According to a local media inquiry, Ducey’s announced $6 million cost for the Yuma barriers came to $13 million.
Daily demonstrations by concerned neighbors have slowed the project’s installation from moving forward at breakneck speed but have not been able to stop it. The shipping containers, according to Mark Ruggiero, a former Sierra Vista district ranger for the US Forest Service in Cochise county, are a risk that could undermine a bilateral firefighting agreement with Mexico.
He remarked, “I was astonished to see this barrier going in. It is a prohibited activity on public property. The double-stacked boxes are not much of a barrier for humans, but they pose an existential threat to endangered migratory species, particularly jaguars and ocelots, and are unsightly.
There was no environmental review, planning, or mitigation, according to Emily Burns, program director for Sky Island Alliance, a nonprofit organization working on binational conservation projects that monitor species in the Coronado national forest.
After being permitted to join the federal government as a defendant in Ducey’s lawsuit, the Center for Biological Diversity blasted the barrier as harmful and a political gimmick. Burns added that despite having 70 wildlife cameras at this border, her organization hardly ever sees migrants cross there.
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