US sues Arizona over shipping containers on Mexico border

Dec 13, 2022, 10:42 PM | Updated: Dec 14, 2022, 8:10 pm
A long row of double-stacked shipping contrainers provide a new wall between the United States and ...

A long row of double-stacked shipping contrainers provide a new wall between the United States and Mexico in the remote section area of San Rafael Valley, Ariz., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. Work crews are steadily erecting hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers along the rugged east end of Arizona’s boundary with Mexico as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey makes a bold show of border enforcement even as he prepares to step aside next month for Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

              An awkward gap is shown between shipping containers at the bottom of a wash along the border where shipping containers create a wall between the United States and Mexico in San Rafael Valley, Ariz., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. Work crews are steadily erecting hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers along the rugged east end of Arizona’s boundary with Mexico as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey makes a bold show of border enforcement even as he prepares to step aside next month for Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              A long row of shipping containers wait for installation along the border where hundreds shipping containers create a wall between the United States and Mexico in San Rafael Valley, Ariz., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. Work crews are steadily erecting hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers along the rugged east end of Arizona’s boundary with Mexico as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey makes a bold show of border enforcement even as he prepares to step aside next month for Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            
              A long row of double-stacked shipping contrainers provide a new wall between the United States and Mexico in the remote section area of San Rafael Valley, Ariz., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. Work crews are steadily erecting hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers along the rugged east end of Arizona’s boundary with Mexico as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey makes a bold show of border enforcement even as he prepares to step aside next month for Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. government sued Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the state Wednesday over the placement of shipping containers as a barrier on the border with Mexico, saying it is trespassing on federal lands.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court comes three weeks before the Republican governor steps aside for Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs, who has said she opposes the construction.

Ducey told U.S. officials earlier this week that Arizona is ready to help remove the containers, which he says were placed as a temporary barrier. But he wants the U.S. government to say when it will fill any remaining gaps in the permanent border wall as it announced it would a year ago.

The U.S. “owes it to Arizonans and all Americans to release a timeline,” he wrote in a Tuesday letter, responding to news of the pending federal complaint.

Border security was a focus of Donald Trump’s presidency and remains a key issue for Republican politicians.

The Department of Justice complaint asks the court for Arizona to be ordered to halt placement and remove the containers in remote San Rafael Valley in southeastern Cochise County.

The work placing up to 3,000 containers at a cost of $95 million is about a third complete, but protesters concerned about its impact on the environment have held up work in recent days.

“Officials from Reclamation and the Forest Service have notified Arizona that it is trespassing on federal lands,” the complaint reads. The action also seeks damages to compensate the United States to fix any damage along the border.

The Justice Department sued on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service it oversees.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement from Washington that the project “is not an effective barrier, it poses safety hazards to both the public and those working in the area and has significantly damaged public land.”

“We need serious solutions at our border, with input from local leaders and communities. Stacking shipping containers is not a productive solution,” Vilsack said.

The complaint was applauded by U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, a Democrat who represents southern Arizona. He called the project an “illegal junkyard border wall.”

Russ McSpadden, Southwest conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the federal complaint “should be the beginning of the end of Doug Ducey’s lawless assault on protected national forestlands and endangered wildlife.”

Ducey wrote federal officials after being informed of their intent to file the complaint and rejected their argument that the containers “present serious public safety risks and environmental harms.”

“The number one public safety risk and environmental harm has come from inaction by the federal government to secure our border,” Ducey wrote, with the January 2021 halt in the building of Trump’s border wall resulting in “an ever-increasing number of migrants who continue to flow into the state.”

Ducey’s move comes amid a record flow of migrants arriving at the border. U.S. border officials have stopped migrants 2.38 million times in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up 37% from the year before. The annual total surpassed 2 million for the first time in August and is more than twice the highest level during Trump’s presidency, in 2019.

Ducey also rejected the U.S. government’s claims that the containers interfere with the ability of federal agencies to carry out their official duties, as well as to complete construction of border infrastructure in some areas.

He said he was encouraged by the Biden administration’s earlier announcement it would fill gaps in the wall, but that was a year ago.

“Arizona had no other choice but to address the crisis at its southern border and began erecting a temporary border barrier,” the governor wrote.

Hobbs has said she considers the project a political stunt, but hasn’t decided what to do about the containers after her Jan. 5. inauguration.

Ducey sued federal officials over their objections to the container wall Oct. 21, insisting that Arizona holds sole or shared jurisdiction over the 60-foot (18.2 meter) strip the containers rest on and has a constitutional right to protect residents from “imminent danger of criminal and humanitarian crises.”

Ducey’s container wall effort began in late summer in Yuma in western Arizona, a popular crossing point, with scores of asylum-seekers arriving daily and often finding ways to circumvent the new barriers. The containers filled areas left open when Trump’s 450-mile (724 km) border wall was built. But remote San Rafael Valley — the latest construction site — is not typically used by migrants and was not contemplated in Trump’s wall construction plan.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
18 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Tiny California mouse wins Guinness award for longevity

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A tiny California mouse now has a big title after winning a Guinness World record for longevity. A Pacific pocket mouse named Pat — after “Star Trek” actor Patrick Stewart — received the Guinness approval Wednesday as the oldest living mouse in human care at the ripe age of 9 years […]
18 hours ago
This shows a Chinese Dahua brand security camera in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. Aust...
Associated Press

Australian Defense Department to remove Chinese-made cameras

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Defense Department will remove surveillance cameras made by Chinese Communist Party-linked companies from its buildings, the government said Thursday after the U.S. and Britain made similar moves. The Australian newspaper reported Thursday that at least 913 cameras, intercoms, electronic entry systems and video recorders developed and manufactured by Chinese companies […]
18 hours ago
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a mi...
Associated Press

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un presides over big military parade

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has presided over a huge military parade in the capital, where troops rolled out the latest hardware of his fast-growing nuclear arsenal that fuels tensions with his neighbors and the United States. North Korean state media photos of the parade published Thursday showed Kim […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Filmmaker Ken Burns walks with inmate Rahsaan Thomas at San Quentin State Prison in San Quen...
Associated Press

‘Ear Hustle’ podcast co-host is free from San Quentin prison

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A co-host of “Ear Hustle,” the Pulitzer Prize-nominated podcast produced behind bars, was released from San Quentin State Prison on Wednesday, a year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom commuted his sentence. Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, 52, left the lockup near San Francisco and was greeted by his fellow podcast co-hosts Walter […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
US sues Arizona over shipping containers on Mexico border