PHOENIX ( Associated Press) – Containers placed along the border with Mexico by former Arizona governor Doug Ducey have largely been removed at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars within months of a new Democratic administration. Which was reinstalled and removed.
The removal of the massive red, gold and blue steel containers is causing extreme visual changes to affected sections of the southern Arizona landscape, with new Governor Katie Hobbs taking office and investing $76 million in state funds to remove them. Crores of rupees were spent in installing those that have been added in 95.
Ducey, a Republican, said the containers, placed in a border gap near the western community of Yuma and along a grassy valley in eastern Arizona’s Cochise County, were a temporary measure until the administration of President Joe Biden approved a The permanent wall was not built. To secure the border.
Hobbs was inaugurated this week and is one of the Democrats who called it a political stunt.
Border security was a major issue during Donald Trump’s presidency and continues to be for many Republicans. During his campaign, Hobbs’ Republican opponent, Kari Lake, promised to deploy the National Guard to the border on his first day in office.
The issue went to federal court after Ducey sued, seeking recognition that Arizona had jurisdiction, self-governing or shared, over the portion of federal land where the containers were placed. He also argued that Arizona had a right to protect its residents from illegal immigration, which he called a humanitarian crisis.
An agreement was reached between Ducey’s government and the federal agencies named in his lawsuit that the containers were to be removed by Wednesday, the day before Hobbs’ inauguration. But the court later pushed back all deadlines in the case by 30 days to give Hobbs and new Attorney General Chris Mayes time to study the situation.
In Yuma, 130 containers covering about 3,800 feet (1,160 m) had already been removed as of Tuesday.
Russ McSpadden, who visited the area in the remote San Rafael Valley as a Center for Biological Diversity Conservation Activist for the Southwest, said workers are still tearing down the wall in Cochise County.
About a third of the nearly 3,000 containers were kept there, prompting concerns about potential damage to local wildlife and natural water systems, until protesters called off work in December. Environmentalists said the work in the Coronado National Forest has put endangered or threatened species at risk, such as the western yellow-billed cuckoo and the Mexican spotted owl.
Yuma Mayor Doug Nichols said this week that while the federal government plans to begin permanent construction to close a wide gap around a section of the Morelos Dam that immigrants often pass through, he’s worried about other locations. Worried where they can’t build a wall.
The Border Patrol announced Friday that construction to close the breach near the Morelos Dam would begin next week, noting that the rapidly rising Colorado River in that section poses potential drownings and other injuries for migrants and the agency’s own employees. creates risk.
Republican Nichols said, “The containers were never going to completely stop people from crossing, but it was a way to better control it.” Daily to apply for asylum.
Nichols said he is already in talks with the Hobbs administration about border security and that he would like the governor to visit the area.
“I hope it comes soon,” he said. “We still feel like this is an emergency.”
While Ducey was in power, Arizona was moving hundreds of migrants from Yuma to the nation’s capital.
Nichols said regular bus trips to Washington have continued despite the change of governors. The Regional Center for Border Health, a non-profit organization, is in charge of the contract.
He said that without any sort of migrant shelter, Yuma is unprepared to help new arrivals who need housing, and that offering bus travel to Washington would allow many people to move to the country’s east coast for free. Can travel, where their relatives can be.
Unlike migrant buses sent from Texas to East Coast cities, non-profit groups in Washington have acknowledged that Arizona’s buses include detailed descriptions of passengers and their nationalities, coordinated arrival times and access to medical personnel on each trip. The Ducey government had sent more than 2,500 immigrants to Washington since May in about 70 transfers.
The Republican governor’s administration previously estimated that each bus trip cost the state coffers about $80,000, which would put the total cost so far above $5.6 million.
A spokeswoman for Border Health’s regional center in Somerton, Arizona, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the contract was being handled.
Nichols said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would reimburse the center for the cost of the trip.