Arizona governor uses shipping boxes to build border wall in final days of term | Arizona

Arizona’s Republican governor must hand over the keys to his Democratic successor in January after illegally erecting a makeshift new barrier made of shipping containers across parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Doug Ducey is pushing a project to place double-decker old shipping containers in miles of national forest in an attempt to fill the void left by Donald Trump’s intermittent border fencing.

The top of the rusting hull is covered with bladed barbed wire, and the gaps are filled with pieces of metal, stretching more than three miles through the Coronado National Forest south of Tucson, which the governor has announced plans to extend to 10 miles, but at a price or $95m (£78m).

Ducey’s wall of shipping containers on the AZ-MX border is worse than I thought. I personally went down the mountain yesterday to see the story of the Frontier Chronicles. Imagine traveling 10 miles through the National Wildlife Forest. This is happening 👇👇

— Melissa Del Bosque (@MelissaLaLinea) November 30, 2022

The region, with mountains rising from the desert and rich in flora and fauna, is a federal land maintained by the U.S. Forest Service.

In August, Ducey first tested a small number of shipping containers in Yuma, in the southwestern corner of the state, which borders California and Mexico, aimed at deterring migrants and asylum seekers.

Since Donald Trump became president in 2020 and implemented Rule 42, which closed most U.S. ports of entry to asylum seekers, people have looked elsewhere for barriers to claiming asylum from border agents. Despite a lengthy legal battle, the rule still appears on track to end later this month.

Eleven days after Ducey issued an executive order in August to erect old shipping containers near Yuma, workers installed 130 of what he called “22-foot-tall, double-stacked, state-owned, 8,800-pound, 9×40-foot together and weld shut”.

In October, Ducey filed a lawsuit claiming that federal land along the border known as the Roosevelt Reservation actually belonged to the state, not the U.S. government, and that Arizona had a constitutional right to protect itself from what he called an invasion, citing “countless immigrant ’ leading to a “mixture of drug, crime and humanitarian problems”.

U.S. prosecutors issued a scathing response refuting the claims.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Cocopah Tribal Nation said Ducey violated federal law by placing the containers on federal and tribal land there. In a letter, the bureau asked the state to remove the containers. But the state has not, and has since embarked on a larger project, now racing more than 300 miles to the east.

Shipping boxes fill a gap in the border wall near Yuma, Arizona.
Shipping boxes fill a gap in the border wall near Yuma, Arizona. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels backed the placement of the new series of shipping containers in the county, hoping “this will deter crime and deter crime”.

But as the metal box line winds its way west into neighboring Santa Cruz County, Sheriff there David Hathaway told Nogales International that if anyone tries to place the containers in his jurisdiction, They will be arrested for illegal dumping.

Dinah Bear, an attorney and former general counsel for the White House Executive Office Council on Environmental Quality, said Ducey’s lawsuit was “horribly bad” and “boring.”

“There’s no doubt that it’s federal property,” she added, but also public land, which means “there’s no legal distinction between the land where they put the container and Grand Canyon National Park.”

To stop the project, she said U.S. Forest Service agents “would definitely want a court order from a judge … they’re not going to go to the border and have a shootout with state police or arrest the governor [state] House of Parliament. “

Federal Judge David Campbell in Phoenix is ​​presiding over the case but has not yet called a hearing.

“The clock is ticking,” Bell said, with the court in favor and the holidays looming.

Incoming Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who takes office Jan. 2 after defeating Republican Kari Lake in the midterm elections, said she would demolish the these containers.

Bell predicted that Campbell would order his removal.

But before that, they were being laid by a contractor named AshBritt, a Florida-based disaster recovery company. A local media investigation found that Ducey’s announced cost of the Yuma barrier was $6 million, but the actual cost was $13 million.

Locals are appalled by the project, and daily protests have slowed the speedy installation but not managed to stop it.

Meanwhile, Mark Ruggiero, a former Sierra Vista ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in Cochise County, said the containers are a hazard that jeopardizes a bilateral firefighting agreement with Mexico.

“I was shocked to see this barrier come in,” he said. “It’s illegal on public land.”

As a hindrance to humans, double-walled boxes aren’t much of a hindrance, but they pose an existential threat to endangered migratory species (particularly jaguars and ocelots), as well as being an eyesore.

“There was no environmental review or planning or mitigation,” said Emily Burns, program director for the Sky Island Alliance, a binational conservation nonprofit that tracks wildlife in the Coronado National Forest.

The Center for Biological Diversity was allowed to join the federal government as a defendant in Ducey’s lawsuit and has slammed the barrier as damaging and a political stunt.

Meanwhile, Burns noted that her organization has 70 wildlife cameras along the border, and they rarely see migrants crossing there.

Source link