Biden administration sues Arizona over border wall built from shipping containers

The Justice Department sued Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday over the construction of a makeshift border wall made of shipping containers.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, the Biden administration argued that construction crews building the temporary wall were trespassing on federal land.

The petition asks for “immediate relief” prohibiting the outgoing governor from continuing to work on the barrier, which officials say is being done without proper permits or authorization.

“Arizona has unlawfully and without authority removed shipping containers from lands owned by the United States or on which the United States has easements, thereby causing injury to the United States” The DOJ filing reads.

The lawsuit comes after Ducey ordered the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs in August to install a razor-wire-covered structure to fill gaps in the existing fence between Mexico and Yuma County.

Arizona’s governor has ordered the construction of a shipping container wall in 2022 in response to a record influx of migrants along the border.

The Biden administration says construction crews building a temporary wall are trespassing on federal land.

Ducey’s office told the DOJ on Tuesday that his state is “and always has been willing to cooperate with the federal government on building a border wall” and that work on the wall has been halted. This is reported by NBC News.

“From our point of view, the containers are meant to be a temporary solution to an ongoing problem, and that is the problem of a secure border,” Ducey’s spokesman, CJ Karamargin, told the news agency.

In October, Ducey sued the leaders of the US Forest Service, the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Reclamation to allow the shipping container project to proceed.

A long row of double-decker shipping containers forms a new wall between the United States and Mexico on Dec. 8, 2022, in a remote area of ​​Arizona's San Rafael Valley.
A record number of migrant clashes at the border this year has prompted the construction of the wall.

“Arizona is moving to protest on behalf of our citizens” Ducey said in a press release in October. “With this lawsuit, we oppose federal bureaucrats’ efforts to roll back the gains we’ve made. The safety and security of Arizona and its citizens must not be compromised. Arizona will do what Joe Biden refused to do – protect the border to the best of our ability.

The Biden administration warned Ducey that the containers were near the Morelos Dam and on land that is part of the Cocopah Indian Tribe’s Western Reservation.

It also claimed the fences were interfering with a Customs and Border Protection project to fill holes in the existing wall.

Gov. Doug Ducey answers a question during a news conference on Dec. 2, 2020, in Phoenix.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an order in August to build a temporary wall.

Environmentalists have also opposed the wall, arguing that waterways and critical habitat for endangered species would be harmed.

Incoming Arizona Gov. Kathy Hobbs (D) has promised to stop work on the wall when he took office in January, he called its construction a “political ploy” that isn’t working.

“Our land is not a place to plant things. That’s one problem. Containers are not running. There are a lot of pictures of people climbing on them,” Hobbs said earlier this week.

“This is a political trick. It’s a visual barrier that’s not really going to be an effective barrier to entry and I think it’s a waste of taxpayer money,” he added.


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