Ducey issues executive order, will use state money to fill border wall gaps near Yuma
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order Friday to fill out nearly a quarter-mile of gaps in the border wall on federal land near Yuma.
Construction on the 1,000 feet of gaps began at 9 a.m. and will be funded with $6 million from the fiscal year 2023 state budget.
Ducey’s office attributed the move in part to the Biden administration’s decision on Tuesday to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, the Trump-era action requiring asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration court.
“Arizona has had enough,” Ducey said in a press release. “We can’t wait any longer. The Biden administration’s lack of urgency on border security is a dereliction of duty.”
The gaps is expected to be filled within days, according to the governor’s office. An additional 2,000 feet of gaps could be finished within the next two weeks through more executive orders, Ducey’s office added.
The Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, which includes the Arizona National Guard, will take the lead on construction.
The new wall installation will consist of 60 double stacked containers that are welded shut and topped with 4 feet of razor wire. Each will be 22 feet tall and weigh 8,800 pounds.
The order is the latest in a series of chess moves between Arizona and the Biden administration over how to slow illegal crossings in some of the busiest corridors.
The Biden administration on July 28 authorized completion of the Donald Trump-funded U.S.-Mexico border wall in an open area near Yuma, close to where the state will fill in gaps.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas authorized completion of the project near the Morelos Dam, reflecting the administration’s “priority to deploy modern, effective border measures and also improving safety and security along the Southwest Border.”
The Border Patrol Yuma sector has quickly emerged as the third-busiest of nine sectors along the southern border, with much of the traffic funneling through the Morelos Dam.
Migrants arrive in the small town of Algodones and walk unencumbered across a concrete ledge on the dam to U.S. soil, where they wait for Border Patrol agents to take them into custody.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Tasler and The Associated Press contributed to this report.