The US government sues the governor of Arizona for using shipping containers as a barrier on the border with Mexico

The US government has sued Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and the state of Arizona for building a shipping container wall along parts of the US-Mexico border.

The Justice Department filed suit in US District Court seeking an order to stop the placement of the barriers and disposal bins in the remote San Rafael Valley in far eastern Cochise County.

The complaint filed Wednesday cited operational and environmental concerns, adding that Arizona “is trespassing on federal land.”

The latest move by the Biden administration comes amid a high-profile standoff between the Arizona governor and the federal government.

In just three weeks, the Republican governor will sideline incoming Democratic governor-elect Katie Hobbs, who has said she opposes construction.

Ducey’s efforts to erect a wall with hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers began in late summer in Yuma, western Arizona, a popular crossing point with dozens of asylum seekers arriving daily. He said he wanted to “secure” the border by filling in the gaps in the Trump administration’s border wall.

The $95 million job to stack up to 300 containers is one-third complete.

A view of shipping containers from the border wall on the frontier with Mexico in Cochise County, Arizona

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A view of shipping containers from the border wall at the Mexico border in Cochise County, Arizona


Their progress was recently slowed by protests from environmental groups, who have raised concerns about environmental damage to native species and natural water systems in the region.

“By installing shipping containers on National Forest System land, Arizona has widened roads and cleared land for staging areas…cut down or removed dozens of trees, clogged drains, and degraded the habitat of Species Act-listed species in Danger of Extinction ”, said the declared complaint.

“Shipping containers are blocking approximately thirty natural ephemeral watercourses, which will disrupt natural watershed patterns, erode soil in the immediate area, and damage vegetation and forage.”

It added that the installation of the wall also “adversely affected” law enforcement work and “interfered with the ability of the Forest Service to carry out its official duties, including by causing National Forest System lands to be seized.” by private armed security guards. ”.

The Department of Justice is seeking damages to compensate the US for repairing any damage along the border.

The complaint filed on Wednesday seeks damages to the US government

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The complaint filed Wednesday seeks damages to the US government.


Following the resistance, Ducey said earlier this week that Arizona will help the federal government remove the containers, which he said were a temporary barrier.

But he demanded that the US government fill in the remaining gaps in the permanent border wall as it announced it would do a year ago.

In a letter Tuesday, he wrote that the United States “owes Arizonans and all Americans to publish a timeline.”

He wrote to federal officials after being made aware of the pending complaint, rejecting their contention that the containers “pose serious risks to public safety and environmental damage.”

“The number one risk to public safety and environmental damage comes from the federal government’s inaction to protect our border,” Ducey wrote.

He added that halting the construction of Donald Trump’s border wall resulted in “increasing numbers of migrants continuing to arrive in the state.”

His move to prevent immigrants from crossing the border comes amid a record influx of asylum seekers. Border officials have thwarted migrants’ efforts to cross the border more than 2.28 million times in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

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