Friday, June 02, 2023|
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Border Patrol agents patrol along a line of shipping containers stacked near the border on Aug. 23, 2022, near Yuma, Ariz. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
PHOENIX — Arizona has refused the federal government’s demand to take down double-stacked shipping containers it placed to fill gaps in the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying it won’t do so until the U.S. moves to construct a permanent barrier instead.
The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs dug in its heels in an Oct. 18 letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, saying “the containers will remain in place until specific details regarding construction are provided.” It was signed by Allen Clark, the department’s director.
A regional spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Arizona’s refusal in the most recent flap between the Biden administration and Republican-led border states over immigration policies.
The federal agency told Arizona officials in a letter last week that the containers were unauthorized and violated U.S. law. The bureau also demanded that no new containers be placed, saying it wanted to prevent conflicts with two federal contracts already awarded and two more still pending to fill border wall gaps near the Morelos Dam in the Yuma, Arizona, area.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered installation of more than 100 double-stacked containers that were placed over the summer, saying he couldn’t wait for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to award the contracts it had announced for the work.
Migrants have continued to avoid the recently erected barriers by going around them, including through the Cocopah Indian Reservation. The Cocopah Indian Tribe has complained that Arizona acted against its wishes by placing 42 of the double stacks on its land.
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