‘We can’t wait any longer!’ Arizona Governor Doug Ducey starts building $6m makeshift border wall
Arizona began moving in shipping containers Friday to plug a 1,000-foot gap in the border wall near Arizona’s southern Yuma farming community, with officials saying they were acting to stop migrants after repeated, unfulfilled promises by the Biden administration to stop the Surface.
“Arizona has had enough,” tweeted Doug Ducey, the state’s Republican governor, who will be re-elected in November.
‘We can’t wait any longer. The Biden administration’s lack of urgency on border security is a dereliction of duty.”
The Yuma sector of the border, 126 miles long, has seen a nearly 300 percent increase in ‘border encounters’ – migrants arrested by customs and border protection agents – this year compared to the same time frame in 2021.
The peak is the highest recorded by any of nine sectors: two in California, two in Arizona, one in New Mexico and Texas, and four in Texas alone.
Yuma has seen the third-highest number of “encounters” this year — only beaten by Del Rio and the Rio Grande sectors, both in Texas.
Ducey said his state had tried to convince the White House to do more but was frustrated.
Shipping containers are being put in place along the US-Mexico border in the Yuma sector
The bright orange and yellow sea containers will be put in place on Friday
“For the past two years, Arizona has made every effort to work with Washington to address the crisis at our border,” he continued.
“We intervened time and again to clean up their mess.
“Arizonas can no longer wait for the federal government to deliver on their delayed promises.”
The Arizona move is coming on federal land without explicit permission, with state contractors beginning to move in 60-foot-long shipping containers and stacking two of the 9-foot-tall containers on top of each other early Friday.
They plan to complete the job in a few days and the containers will be covered with four feet of barbed wire, said Katie Ratlief, deputy chief of staff to Republican Governor Doug Ducey.
The state plans to fill in three holes in the border wall built during former President Donald Trump’s tenure, totaling 3,000 feet, in the coming weeks.
Governor Doug Ducey is seen last year in the Yuma sector of the US-Mexico border
“The federal government has committed to do this, but we can’t wait for their action,” Ratlief said.
John Mennell, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, said the agency had just learned of Arizona’s action and “is not prepared to comment at this time.”
The move is the latest backlash from a Republican-led border state to what they claim is Joe Biden’s inaction on immigration.
It was immediately prompted by the announcement of the end of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program announced this week, said Ducey’s top attorney, Annie Foster.
Under that program, asylum seekers had to return to Mexico and wait for a court date, although thousands of migrants who entered the country were not returned.
Arizona has sent two to three buses carrying asylum seekers from Yuma to Washington in the past three months to make a political statement as the number of arriving migrants overwhelmed local resources.
Migrants are seen in the Yuma sector of the border on July 11, awaiting processing
A young Russian boy is seen crouching on the ground while a CBP agent in Yuma on June 21. passing by
Migrants board a bus for processing in the Yuma sector on July 11
A CBP agent monitors migrants in the Yuma sector on June 21
Ducey started the program in May and has said everyone on the bus trips will voluntarily go to the capital with intended final destinations in East Coast cities.
Texas is also transporting migrants eastward, and the mayors of New York and Washington last month sought federal help to deal with the influx.
Their request garnered a gleeful response from Republicans, who say the pleas are proof that the US is in an immigration crisis.
By August 11, the state of Arizona had sent 1,425 asylum seekers to Washington, according to the governor’s office.
Ducey is using $6 million for the project out of the $335 million lawmakers authorized in June to build virtual or physical fences along the border with Mexico.
Ducey, who is co-chair of the Republican Governors Association, and other Republican politicians have tapped border security as a powerful political resource in an election year.
The Biden administration announced late last month that it had authorized the completion of the Trump-funded US-Mexico border wall at Yuma. The area has become one of the busiest corridors for illegal crossings and they planned to fill in four large gaps.
Arizona officials said they were not sure why there was a discrepancy between the three gaps they identified and the federal government’s plans.
Biden had pledged during his campaign to halt all future wall construction, but the government later agreed to some barriers, citing safety.
The Department of Homeland Security has planned work to plug four wide holes in the wall at Yuma to better protect migrants passing through a low section of the Colorado River who could slide down a slope or drown.
Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas authorized the completion of the project at the Morelos Dam in July, a move officials say reflects the “government’s priority to put in place modern, effective border measures and also improve safety and security along the border.” improve the southwestern frontier’.
Arizona points to an increasing number of migrants entering the state and associated drug smuggling as a major reason for their action.
Agents stopped migrants more than 160,000 times from January to June in the Yuma sector – almost a fourfold increase from the same period last year.
Despite federal promises to fill the gaps, officials in Arizona said no action had been taken to actually close them.
The federal government apparently launched the project this week, but that could take weeks or months.
Foster, Ducey’s top attorney, said the governor decided to act even if the federal government later objected.
“Right now we are closing that gap and will figure out the ramifications as we move forward,” Foster said at a briefing for reporters.
“But the bottom line is that the federal government has a duty to protect the states — that’s part of the contract, that’s part of the Constitution.
“They couldn’t do that.”