Under pressure from a federal lawsuit, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has agreed to demolish two lengthy portions of the state’s border wall, constructed from stacked shipping containers topped with concertina wire.
Arizona will remove all containers from the border by January 4, adhering to a rigorous border-eradication timeline and without harming natural resources. The announcement comes as the Supreme Court reviews the constitutionality of Trump-era Title 42, which allows officials to deny asylum requests at the border to prevent the spread of dangerous illnesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Under a court ruling, the program was originally supposed to expire on December 21, and its ultimate repeal is anticipated to result in a massive flood of migrants.
The U.S. Interior and Agriculture ministries filed action earlier this month to stop the construction of the improvised wall, seeking “a ruling that Arizona’s use and occupation of United States-owned properties without the necessary licenses or other authority constituted unlawful incursions.”
The container wall lies near the southern edge of lands and easements administered by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Also challenging the wall were environmentalists. Approximately a third of the projected length of the border had been constructed since the project’s August start.
The government stated in its submission that hundreds of double-stacked, multi-ton shipping containers damaged federal lands, harmed public safety, and impaired the capacity of federal agencies and officials, including law enforcement officers, to carry out their official responsibilities.
Ducey’s staff presented the event as a success, implying he had received assurances that the federal government would soon begin filling the border wall’s gaps. Ducey’s spokesperson stated that the government was finally going to take action and that they waited until the situation at the border escalated into a full-blown catastrophe. His spokesperson then stated, “it’s better to be late than never.”
Rusty McSpadden of the Center for Biological Diversity contested this interpretation, stating that the federal government has not stated that it will construct a wall in parts where containers are already located.
The Arizona Republic reports that the state has spent more than $80 million to acquire 1,167 shipping containers and stack them along desolate frontier areas in Yuma and Cochise counties. The state is now required to spend extra money demolishing the wall, and according to McSpadden, it must also restore the harm it caused to the federal territory.
Ducey is in the last weeks of his term, while Katie Hobbs, the newly-elected Democratic governor, waits in the wings. Her opponent in the November election, Kari Lake, is awaiting a ruling from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson following a two-day trial in which the Lake campaign attempted to demonstrate that major election problems in the county were created “intentionally” and “did affect the election.”
Now, we must see what Arizona does with those cargo containers. They might be transformed into dwellings, according to Lake. If and when Title 42 is repealed, it is probable that the vacant spaces will be filled with Latinos.