Arizona Governor Ducey stacked containers at the border at the end of the term

SAN RAFAEL VALLEY, Arizona (AP) —

Crews have installed hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers topped with razor wire on Arizona’s far eastern border with Mexico in a bold show of border enforcement even as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey prepares to leave office.

Ducey pressed ahead with objections from the U.S. government, environmentalists and the incoming governor, until protesters slowed down and largely halted work in recent days. He said it was a poor use of resources.

Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs said last week that she is “looking at all options” and hasn’t decided what to do about the containers after taking office Jan. 5. Before her Recommended containers For homeless and low-income people, affordable housing will be reconsidered.

“I don’t know how much it will cost to remove the containers,” Hobbs said Wednesday in an interview with Phoenix PBS TV station KAET.

Federal agencies told Arizona the construction was illegal on U.S. land and ordered it to stop. Ducey responded on 21 October Case against central authorities On their objections, refer the dispute to the court.

Environmental groups say these containers can affect natural water systems and endanger species.

“A lot of damage can be done here between now and early January,” said Southwest Defense Attorney Russ McSpadden. Center for Biological Diversity He has been traveling to the site regularly since late October.

Ducey asserts that Arizona has sole or shared jurisdiction over the 60-foot (18.2 meter) area and has a constitutional right to protect residents from “imminent danger of criminal and humanitarian crises.”

“Arizona is going to do what Joe Biden refuses to do — secure the border any way we can.” Ducey said when Arizona sued the U.S. government. “We’re not backing down.”

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Federal agencies want to dismiss Ducey’s complaint.

Border security has been a focus of Donald Trump’s presidency This is a powerful issue for Republican politicians. Hobbs’ GOP rival, Gary Lake, campaigned on his first day in office promising to send the National Guard to the border. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, recently re-elected for a third term, has continued to push for Trump’s signature wall on much of the private land along his state’s border with Mexico. He has also drawn attention to busing migrants For Democratic-led cities far from the southern border, including New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, DC

Ducey’s move comes amid a record flow of migrants arriving at the border. US border officials have stopped immigrants 2.38 million times For the fiscal year ended September 30, it was 37% higher than the previous year. The annual total surpassed 2 million for the first time in August and more than doubled in 2019 during Trump’s presidency.

Ducey’s container wall effort began in late summer in Yuma, in western Arizona, a popular crossing point where large numbers of asylum seekers arrive daily and find ways to avoid the new barriers.. The containers filled areas left open when Trump’s 450-mile (724 km) border wall was built. But the remote San Rafael Valley — the site of the latest construction — is not commonly used by immigrants and is not contemplated in Trump’s wall construction plan. McSpadden said he didn’t see immigrants or Border Patrol agents there, just hikers and backpacking cyclists.

Construction there stretches from the oak forests of the Huachuca foothills southeast of Tucson and across the grasslands of the valley. In the middle of last week, cranes carried more than 900 blue or rust-colored metal containers down a dirt road criss-crossed with steel. Workers clamped the containers together and welded sheet metal in the gaps.

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However, the new container wall has yawning gaps, including several hundred yards (meters) of open space in terrain too steep to accommodate containers. Some low-lying washes have gaps nearly three feet (1 meter) wide.

Environmentalists have been protesting at the Cochise County site for the past week, stopping work in recent days by standing in front of construction vehicles. On a recent day, a dozen demonstrators sat on stacked containers or camping chairs next to tents and their sleeping vehicles.

The work in Yuma cost about $6 million and was completed in 11 days covering about 3,800 feet (about 1,160 meters) with 130 containers. The Bureau of Reclamation told Arizona it violated U.S. law by building on federal land. The Cocopa Indian Tribe also complained that it had not sought permission to build on its adjacent reservation.

The new project is much larger, costing about $95 million and using 3,000 containers over 10 miles (16 km) in southeastern Cochise County, Arizona. The US Forest Service also told Arizona to stop its work in the Coronado National Forest Recently alerted viewers For risks posed by construction equipment engaged in “unauthorized activities” by the government.

The Center for Biological Diversity supports the federal government’s position that the construction violates US law.

While the Duce’s lawsuit does not address environmental concerns, groups like the Center say they are working Coronado National Forest Endangered or threatened species such as the western yellow-billed cuckoo and the Mexican spotted owl, as well as large cats, including the occasional ocelot.

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This biologically diverse region of southeastern Arizona is known for its “sky islands,” or isolated mountain ranges rising 6,000 feet (1,828 meters) above “seas” of desert and grasslands. Wildlife cameras in the area routinely photograph black bears, bobcats, ringtails, spotted skunks, white-nosed coots, and porcupines.

McSpadden said the work felled oak and hemlock trees, and he found razor wire and other construction debris on national forest land.

Environmentalists warn of the dangers of placing containers in the San Pedro River catchment, which floods every summer during the rainy season. Just south of the border is a protected area called Rancho Los Fresnos, which is home to the otter, a threatened species in Mexico.

Biologist Miles Trafagan Wildlands Network He told a briefing on border issues last month that the massive damage done during the construction of the Trump administration’s border wall has never been repaired. Last year, he Arizona and New Mexico sections mapped Damaged parts of that boundary wall should be highlighted. A This year’s report It highlights areas where the committee considers priorities for reconstruction.

Dynamite explosions are forever reshaped The remote Guadalupe Canyon in the southeast corner of Arizona. Towering steel bollards block wildlife corridors from Mexico, preventing animals such as little elf owls, pronghorns and big cats from entering the United States to hunt and mate.

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Snow has been reported from Phoenix. Follow her on Twitter: @asnowreports

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