To end a legal dispute and political standoff with the federal government over illegally trespassing on federal lands, Arizona has agreed to dismantle a homemade wall at the Mexico border constructed out of shipping containers.
According to court documents that were submitted on Wednesday in the United States District Court in Phoenix, the administration of Vice President Joe Biden and the governor of Arizona, who is a Republican, agreed that the state would stop installing the containers in the Coronado National Forest, which is the only national forest along the border.
Additionally, the agreement requires the state of Arizona to remove the containers that have already been installed in the remote San Rafael Valley, in southeastern Cochise County, and in the Yuma area, which is close to the Cocopah Indian Tribe’s reservation and where the United States Bureau of Reclamation has an easement. By the 4th of January, all of this must be finished without causing any harm to the natural resources. There will be a need for consultation between state agencies and representatives from the United States Forest Service.
For a long time, Governor Doug Ducey has maintained that the shipping containers were only intended to be a temporary structure. Even before the lawsuit was filed, he demanded that the federal government provide a timetable for when it will fulfill the promise made a year ago to plug any gaps that may still exist in the permanent border wall.
“The federal government has been making a lot of noise about its plans to get back to work building a permanent barrier along the border for more than a year. Last but not least, he informed the Associated Press that “Final details are still being worked on” in regard to how much it will cost and when it will begin. Thursday afternoon, United States Customs and Border Protection representatives did not immediately respond to inquiries requesting comment.
This resolution comes about two weeks before Democrat Katie Hobbs takes over as governor. Hobbs is opposed to the development project. On behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Agriculture, and the Forest Service, the federal government initiated legal action against the administration of Governor Ducey last week by filing a lawsuit in federal court.
In his response to the announcement of the impending federal lawsuit, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey stated in an email last week that the federal government “owes it to Arizonans and all Americans to give a timeline.” Installing up to 3,000 containers at the cost of $95 million was approximately a third complete when it was held up in recent days by demonstrators concerned about its impact on the environment.
Meanwhile, restrictions on asylum seekers who want to enter the United States were scheduled to expire on Wednesday. However, states that lean conservative have asked the United States Supreme Court to help them keep those restrictions in place. The limits under the Trump administration have been challenged by the Biden administration in court, but not before Christmas. It is unclear when the court will decide on the subject.
They have chosen to take action now because the situation on our border has developed into a full-blown crisis, according to C.J. Karamargin, who serves as Ducey’s spokesperson. “Better late than never.”
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