By Katabella Roberts
Arizona has forged ahead with erecting a shipping container barrier along the Arizona-Mexico border in an effort to close the gaps, despite the Biden administration’s attempts to prevent the state from doing so.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, announced that the state is moving forward with the project, which will costs an estimated $95 million, on Twitter on Monday.
“On Friday, we committed to moving forward with our Border Barrier Mission—undeterred by the Biden admin’s efforts to reverse our progress. Today, we continued to follow through on our promise to add physical barriers to the border where possible,” Ducey wrote.
The border barrier is set to be erected along a 10-mile stretch of land in Cochise County, where there is currently no border wall. Ducey said it will take approximately 2,770 containers to fill in the gaps across “extremely rugged terrain” but that the state is “determined to fill the gap—literally.”
Ducey took aim at Biden’s failed border policies that many experts and Republican lawmakers believe have resulted in an increase in illegal immigrants attempting to enter the United States.
‘Public Safety Crisis’
“The unresolved border and public safety crisis caused by the Biden admin continues—in Arizona, we don’t stand idly by when our citizens need us most,” Ducey wrote. “Arizona isn’t afraid of a challenge. We will not back down. We will protect our state.”
Ducey’s “Border Barrier Mission” comes despite an ongoing standoff with the Biden administration regarding Arizona’s refusal to remove over a hundred double-stacked shipping containers it placed along the border in Yuma County, including 80 wire-reinforced containers that were placed on bureau lands and 42 on Cocopah Indian Tribe lands.
In a letter to Arizona Homeland Security Director Tim Roemer and Arizona Division of Emergency Management Director Allen Clark on Oct. 13, the U.S. Department of the Interior claimed that the 122 containers that were sitting within its lands were a violation of U.S. law, were “harming federal lands,” and were “impeding reclamation’s ability to perform its mission.”
The letter also stated that Arizona should not place any new containers along the border because U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been awarded a contract to close two gaps in the border barrier near the Morelos Dam in the Yuma, which is Arizona’s busiest illegal border crossing area.
Yet in a responding letter on Oct. 18, Clark denied those claims and refused to remove the containers as the state battles with an influx of illegal aliens.
‘Criminal And Humanitarian Crises’
“The myriad of federal agencies that claim jurisdiction on the southern border but do nothing to prevent the public nuisance caused by illegal immigration and criminal activity that exploits the open border is quite frustrating,” Clark wrote in the letter.
“Your letter incorrectly claims Arizona has trespassed against the United States,” he continued. “The State of Arizona is committed to working with all of our federal partners, including the BOR, to ensure the security of our state and protection of public and private lands … However to date, Arizona has not seen any action by the federal government to do so and was therefore required to take its own action.”
Ducey filed a lawsuit (pdf) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on Friday asking that the court affirm the state’s right to defend itself, citing an “unprecedented crisis” that has arisen in Arizona and “that is the creation of the federal government.”
The lawsuit asks that the court grant that the state has the “constitutional authority to take immediate temporary steps to stem the imminent danger of criminal and humanitarian crises related to the Arizona border.”
“Countless migrants are crossing unsecured areas of the border illegally,” the lawsuit states. “The result is a mix of drug, crime, and humanitarian issues the State has never experienced at such a significant magnitude, resulting in the State bearing the burden of the federal government’s inaction.”