Arizona’s outgoing Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has agreed to dismantle a makeshift border wall constructed out of shipping containers in response to a lawsuit from the Biden administration.
Court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (pdf) on Dec. 21 show that Ducey’s administration has agreed to dismantle the barrier.
The document indicates that the two sides entered into the agreement “to avoid the United States moving for an immediate temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction.”
Under the agreement, Arizona has pledged not to erect any more containers and remove all of the ones previously installed “to the extent feasible” and so as not to cause damage to U.S. lands, properties, and natural resources by Jan. 4. That’s one day before Democrat Governor-elect Katie Hobbs is poised to be sworn in.
Hobbs has been critical of Ducey’s wall, calling it ineffective and a political stunt.
Ducey’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
But a spokesperson for Ducey told The Week that the governor has agreed to remove the 125 or so containers because he believes the Biden administration will put up a permanent barrier in gaps near Yuma, Arizona’s busiest illegal border crossing.
‘Arizona Has Had Enough’
Ducey’s office said earlier that the makeshift wall was supposed to be a temporary construction meant to help stem the tide of illegal border-crossings until a permanent solution could be found.
Illegal immigration has soared under President Joe Biden’s watch, with unauthorized crossings topping 2.76 million in fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
The eye-watering number broke the previous record of illegal crossings by over 1 million and was more than twice the highest level notched during the tenure of former President Donald Trump, who made stemming the influx a major part of his policy platform.
Ducey, an outspoken critic of Biden’s border policies that he has blamed for the surge in illegal immigration, in August issued an order to plug gaps in the U.S.-Mexico border wall near Yuma, saying at the time that, “Arizona has had enough.”
“We can’t wait any longer. The Biden administration’s lack of urgency on border security is a dereliction of duty. For the last two years, Arizona has made every attempt to work with Washington to address the crisis on our border,” Ducey said in a press release at the time.
Work crews subsequently erected hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers topped by razor wire.
Yuma County Sheriff’s Office deputies have said that the containers have helped prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States.
“Our deputies have noticed traffic is slowing down,” one of them told KYMA-TV.
But the makeshift border wall prompted first a warning from the Biden administration and then a lawsuit.
Biden administration officials warned Arizona officials in October that Ducey’s actions were in violation of federal law, including a law that restricts public conduct on lands overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Later, the Biden administration sued Arizona for allegedly placing the containers on federal lands without permission, with the U.S. Department of Justice filing a complaint (pdf) on Dec. 14.
The lawsuit alleged that Ducey’s border wall shipping containers “damage federal lands, threaten public safety, and impede the ability of federal agencies and officials, including law enforcement personnel, to perform their official duties.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in July that it had authorized the filling of gaps in the border wall near Yuma, which has become one of the busiest corridors for illegal crossings in the country.
While Biden pledged in his campaign to cease any future border wall construction, which was a signature project of his predecessor, DHS said in a statement that Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas authorized the completion of the project near the Morelos Dam, reflecting the administration’s “priority to deploy modern, effective border measures and also improving safety and security along the Southwest Border.”
Ducey spokesman C.J. Karamargin told news outlets recently that the shipping containers “were always a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.”
“From our perspective, the shipping container mission is a success. Not only have we plugged gaps in the border barrier, but we got the federal government to do their job,” he said, referring to the DHS decision to fill gaps in the border wall.
From The Epoch Times