Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ) has refused to comply to a demand by the Biden administration to remove shipping containers that are being used to block a portion of the state’s border with Mexico.
The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Tuesday to inform the administration that the state will not remove the containers until a permanent barrier is constructed.
“Arizonans cannot — and will not — wait for federal bureaucrats to do their job and secure the border. We’re taking action now,” Ducey tweeted Wednesday.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation claimed in a letter last week that Arizona was violating federal law by placing the containers on federal land and on the land of Cocopah Indian Tribe’s West Reservation, the Associated Press reported Monday.
“The unauthorized placement of those containers constitutes a violation of federal law and is a trespass against the United States,” the letter read. “That trespass is harming federal lands and resources and impeding Reclamation’s ability to perform its mission.”
A spokesman for Ducey told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday that the position presented by the Biden administration is not one the state would consider.
“The suggestion by any federal bureaucracy, that we take action to make the border easier to cross, is completely unacceptable. Gov. Ducey takes the responsibility to protect Arizona very seriously — that’s why we put up these containers,” Ducey’s communications director, C.J. Karamargin, said in a call with the outlet. “What they’re suggesting, that we take them down and make Arizona less safe, is a nonstarter.”
Ducey posted pictures of the gap in the border wall before and after the containers were placed.
The thousand-foot gap in the border wall near Yuma is closed.
BEFORE: AFTER: pic.twitter.com/b32XQHXFMN
— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) August 15, 2022
The governor signed an executive order in August that authorized the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to begin emergency construction to fill in a 1,000-foot-long gap in the border wall in the Yuma sector. The project was completed just days later.
The order also occurred just days after the Biden administration lifted the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
“Arizona has had enough,” Ducey said in an August 12 statement. “We can’t wait any longer. The Biden administration’s lack of urgency on border security is a dereliction of duty. For the last two years, Arizona has made every attempt to work with Washington to address the crisis on our border. Time and time again we’ve stepped in to clean up their mess. Arizonans can’t wait any longer for the federal government to deliver on their delayed promises.”
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office that stopped the construction of the border wall authorized by former President Donald Trump. A growing border crisis has emerged since that time, with more than 2.4 million CBP enforcement actions during the 2022 fiscal year that ended September 30.