The border wall tug-of-war between the Arizona governor and the Fed is intensifying

Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is rejecting the Biden administration’s request that the state tear down a wall of shipping containers erected to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally.

Ducey defiantly responded Thursday to a letter from the US Bureau of Reclamation urging state officials to remove the double-stacked containers used to fill a gap in a planned partial border wall with Mexico. The Biden administration had planned to complete the barrier, but Ducey said he was pushing ahead with the border wall, which had been a political lightning rod.

“The border barrier mission is working,” Ducey said in a tweet on Thursday, referring to the wall building initiative. “Arizona protects its citizens. It is unbelievable why the federal government is not doing this.”

Ducey signed an executive order Aug. 12 directing state agencies to use double-stacked shipping containers to fill incomplete segments of a border barrier near Yuma in southwest Arizona. Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, previously signed off on closing four loopholes to prevent migrants from drowning trying to cross the Colorado River.

But Ducey said the state cannot wait for the Biden administration to take action. Nearly two weeks after the executive order was signed, Ducey announced that the state used 130 shipping containers to complete 3,820 feet of the border barrier. A press release by Ducey cited figures from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showing that the number of migrants encountered by agents had increased by 230 percent in a year.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey at the rally
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey speaks at a rally for then-President Donald Trump at the International Air Response facility October 19, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. Ducey has defended his government’s use of shipping containers to fill segments of a border wall.
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Jacklynn Gould, regional director of the Bureau of Reclamation, said in a letter sent to Arizona state officials last week that the wall of shipping containers is illegal and amounts to trespassing on federal property. The letter also referred to plans for CBP to complete segments of the wall.

That said Ducey spokesman CJ Karamargin news week In an interview, the letter underlines that the federal government is not serious about completing the wall and points out that it was sent two months after the executive order was signed. He also said that the CBP does not plan to start filing the border wall loopholes until next year and will use mesh as a temporary measure.

Karamargin provided news week with a copy of the response Allen Clark, Arizona’s head of emergency management, sent to Gould on Tuesday, in which he denied the shipping container wall was illegal and blasted the federal government for inaction at the border.

“Furthermore, the lack of coordination among the federal agencies with jurisdiction over the Southwest border demonstrates that states like Arizona cannot rely on the federal government to ensure their security,” he wrote.

news week has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Reclamation for comment. The border wall tug-of-war between the Arizona governor and the Fed is intensifying

Rick Schindler

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