Dec 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Gov. Ducey builds border wall with shipping containers before leadership transition

n this aerial view, shipping containers fill a previous gap in the U.S.-Mexico border wall on September 27, 2022 in Yuma, Arizona.

An aerial view of shipping containers filling a previous gap in the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Yuma, Ariz., on Sept. 27. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has erected a barrier of double-stacked shipping containers along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border as a final act before he leaves office in January, AP reports.

The big picture: Ducey's wall effort began in August in western Arizona, when the Republican governor sought to fill in gaps in former President Trump's border wall, per AP.

  • “Five wide open gaps in the border wall near Yuma neighborhoods and businesses are now closed off," Ducey said in an August press release.
  • As of the middle of last week, cranes had carried more than 900 metal containers and double-stacked them up to 17 feet high, per AP.

State of play: The border construction has drawn scrutiny from federal and local authorities, who have said that the project, taking place on U.S. land, is unlawful.

  • Arizona's sheriff this weekend said he would block the placement of shipping containers, calling Ducey's move "illegal dumping."
  • "The area where they're placing the containers is entirely on federal land, on national forest land," Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway said, per FOX 10 Phoenix.
  • "It's not state land, it's not private land, and the federal government has said this [is] illegal activity. So just the same way if I saw somebody doing an assault or a homicide or a vehicle theft on public land within my county, I would charge that person with a crime."

Ducey sued federal officials in October over their opposition to the project and argued that the land in question belongs to the state.

  • Attorneys in the U.S. responded to Ducey's complaint and urged it to be dismissed, saying, "while the issues at the international border with Mexico are difficult, trespassing on and damaging the United States' lands ... are not the solution."
  • Environmental activists have also decried the construction, saying it could hamper natural water systems and endanger local species, per AP.

Of note: There's been a record number of encounters between border officials and migrants at the border this year.

What to watch: Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs (D), who is taking office in January, last week said that she was exploring "all the options" to remove the shipping containers, AP reports.

  • Hobbs in November, before she was elected, said, "These kinds of things are just political stunts that are not really solving issues at the border," per KYMA.

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