The Biden administration has demanded that Arizona Governor Doug Ducey remove the shipping containers he had stacked to plug the gaps in former President Donald Trump’s incomplete border wall, but Ducey’s office is remaining resolute, citing a “lack of coordination” from federal agencies and stating “the containers will remain in place” until the feds provide “specific details” of their plan to secure the state’s border.
In a letter to the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, Allen Clark, director of Arizona’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, claimed border states “cannot rely on the federal government to ensure its security.”
“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.
As American Wire previously reported, after declaring on Twitter that “Arizona has had enough,” Gov. Ducey’s office declared in August that it was launching a $6 million project that would utilize 60 shipping containers to fill a $1,000-foot gap in the border wall in Yuma.
‘Talk is just so cheap’: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announces plan to fill border wall gaps https://t.co/1YgDl459ye
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) August 13, 2022
“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,” Arizona Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tim Roemer said 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.”
Last week, the Bureau of Reclamation wrote Ducey’s office and claimed the makeshift wall, topped with razor wire, was illegal.
The letter, obtained by Fox12 News, states, “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.”
“To avoid interference with this federal agency contract, Reclamation requests DEMA cease further placement of shipping containers on federal or Indian trust lands,” the bureau continues. “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 claims. “That trespass is harming federal lands and resources and impeding Reclamation’s ability to perform its mission.”
In a fiery response to the bureau, Clark called out the “lack of coordination” from federal agencies and argued 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
Furthermore, Clark pointed to an exemption for federal and state employees who are executing official duties and dismissed 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 Clark stressed that Arizona is “committed to working with all our federal partners,” he noted that the feds have been promising to begin 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,” Clark wrote, “the containers will remain in place until specific details regarding construction are provided.”
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