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“Security Risks and Environmental Damage”: The Battle Against the Barbed Wire Container Wall on the Arizona Border | International

Border tension. Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, has decided to end his term by doubling down on one of the greatest symbols for conservatives, the border with Mexico. The leader has reinforced the line, near the community of Yuma, with some 3,000 containers and barbed wire, a move aimed at cutting off the flow of immigrants to the region. This Wednesday, the federal government has responded to the controversial maneuver that began in August and which has been criticized by activists and environmentalists because the container wall is built in a nature reserve. The Department of Justice has sued the Government of Arizona, after several months of tug of war, considering that the work invades federal lands.

Ducey ends his term on January 5. It will be then when Democrat Katie Hobbs takes the reins of the State, who has questioned the effectiveness of the metal barrier in containing migration. Hobbs, a moderate politician, has said she is exploring options to decide on the wall when she takes office in January. She has also claimed that the containers could be repurposed as temporary housing for the homeless in cities that have seen an increase in the problem, such as Phoenix.

Washington warned Arizona Monday that it would take legal action in federal district court because the barrier causes “serious risks to public safety and environmental damage.” The governor responded a day later, assuring that the real crisis that has motivated the construction of the wall has been the lack of action by the Joe Biden Administration to combat illegal immigration.

Ducey conditions the collaboration of his Government in his response. He assures that his Administration will help remove the containers, which he plans to extend over 16 kilometers, once the Biden Government finishes the controversial wall that former President Donald Trump began to build. “The Department of Homeland Security said it would start filling the holes in the wall in December 2021. A year ago,” Ducey reproaches.

“There is no information on when construction could begin, although several Arizona agencies have requested updates from their federal counterparts. So there has been no other option than to attend to the crisis at the border with a temporary barrier”, the text continues. Despite Ducey’s claims, Customs and Border Protection has indicated that in January it will begin covering gaps in the border wall with mesh and dispatching Border Patrol vehicles.

One of the disputed areas is a narrow strip of land known as the Roosevelt Reservation. President Theodore Roosevelt created it in 1907 for security reasons, to fight against smugglers. That presidential text requires that the strip be free of obstructions. Ducey, however, claims that proclamation is unconstitutional because it was not endorsed by Congress.

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The Republican Administration of Arizona has sent more than 2,000 migrants detained in the border area by bus to the capital of the United States. This coup, which follows a trend started by the governments of Texas and Florida, has cost $5 million since October, according to a public contract obtained by the newspaper. central arizona.

Ducey ordered the controversial measure in a year that has broken all immigration records. The Biden Administration reported 2.3 million illegal entries in October in the last fiscal year (between September 2021 and September 2022). This represents an annual increase of 37% driven by the arrival of more people from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. The figure doubles the maximum income registered during Trump’s term in 2019. Washington’s demand comes on the same day that the US media have published images of El Paso (Texas), where dozens of people are crossing the border days after they the Biden government stops applying Title 42, a measure that allows migrants to be returned on the fly and with almost no legal consequences.

Some Democratic Party lawmakers have welcomed Washington’s legal action. “We need immediate action against the useless and illegal wall erected on federal and native tribal lands,” said Congressman Raúl Grijalva, chairman of the Capitol Hill Natural Resources committee, who has harshly criticized the $95 million spending. of the public budget to build the fence.

The controversial wall has also received condemnation from various environmental organizations, who argue that people are not the only ones who cross the border, an imaginary limit for dozens of species. Activists say the containers cut a corridor that extends into the Huachuca mountains, affecting a destination area for jaguars and ocelots that move through both countries.

The Center for Biological Diversity, located in Tucson, filed a lawsuit against the barrier in early December. The environmental organization showed a video recorded in 2018 and 2019 of an ocelot walking less than four kilometers from the area where the container wall stands today.

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