The state of Arizona is forging ahead with its operation to plug a huge gap in the border wall despite a demand by the Biden administration to cease and desist.
According to reports on Wednesday, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation has requested that Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) administration stop installing a double-wide, double-stacked wall of shipping containers to fill a 1,000-foot gap near Yuma, even as illegal immigration under Joe Biden has set new records and smuggled fentanyl is killing tens of thousands of Americans.
“It is our understanding that the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has awarded a contract for closure of two gaps in the border barrier located on Reclamation lands near Morelos Dam and anticipates awarding an additional contract for the closure of two additional gaps in this area,” said the letter, which was obtained by Fox12 News.
“To avoid interference with this federal agency contract, Reclamation requests DEMA cease further placement of shipping containers on federal or Indian trust lands,” the letter continued. “You are requested to work with Reclamation, in consultation with the Cocopah Indian Tribe, so that CBP’s project may proceed without unnecessary delay. Reclamation will be reaching out to DEMA to discuss a way forward and requests your cooperation in the removal of the containers.”
“The unauthorized placement of those containers constitutes a violation of federal law and is a trespass against the United States (43 C.F.R. Part 423; 43 C.F.R. Part 429),” the letter noted further. “That trespass is harming federal lands and resources and impeding Reclamation’s ability to perform its mission.”
But, citing a “lack of coordination” from federal agencies, Ducey’s office has stated that “the containers will remain in place” until the Feds provide “specific details” of their plan to secure the state’s border, American Wire reported.
Allen Clark, director of Arizona’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, noted in a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation that border states “cannot rely on the federal government to ensure its security.”
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.
— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) August 12, 2022
“The myriad of federal agencies that claim jurisdiction on the southern border but do nothing to prevent the public nuisance caused by illegal immigration and criminal activity that exploits the open border is quite frustrating to those that live, work and recreate on that border and in our state,” Clark wrote, according to Fox News Digital.
Ducey’s office said in August that the state would launch a $6 million project that would utilize 60 shipping containers to fill a 1,000-foot gap in the border wall near Yuma, and top it with razor wire.
“All bets are off when dealing with Washington, D.C. right now on the border crisis because the talk is just so cheap. They’ve broken the border so badly, that now after a year and a half, they’re claiming that they’re going to start closing gaps,” said Arizona Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tim Roemer at the time. “There is absolutely no proof of their actions to date that they’re going to follow through on this, and by taking action today, we are better protecting the state and the nation immediately.”
Clark has cited an exemption in the statute for federal and state employees who are executing official duties while brushing aside the claim that Arizona has trespassed against the U.S. government.
“Moreover, 43 C.F.R. Part 429.4(c)(8) provides that ‘activities authorized under other Federal statutes or regulations’ are not subject to regulation,” he wrote. “Since, the U.S. Constitution provides for the protection of the states (Article IV, section 4) and specifically reserves the right of states to defend themselves (Article 1, section 10), the regulation you cite does not prohibit Arizona’s actions.”
While he pledged that Arizona is “committed to working with all our federal partners,” Clark pointed out that the Biden administration has been promising to start border construction since December 2021 and, “to date, Arizona has not seen any action by the federal government to do so and was therefore required to take its own action.”
“For this reason, the containers will remain in place until specific details regarding construction are provided,” Clark said.