Arizona says shipping containers at Mexico border lawful, will remain in use
PHOENIX — Arizona fired back against federal officials on Wednesday, saying the recently installed shipping containers at the Mexico border are lawful and will remain in use.
The Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday sent the Arizona Department of Homeland Security a letter claiming the containers near the Morelos Dam in Yuma were a trespassing violation against the United States.
The state, through the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, responded that the barriers will stay until the federal government begins construction on a pair of contracts it has awarded.
“For this reason, the containers will remain in place until specific details regarding construction are provided, ” Allen Clark, DEMA director, said in the letter.
“Once that information has been shared, the state will direct our contractors to work with the federal contractors to maintain the security of the area and that work under the federal contract is not impeded.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered installation of more than 100 double-stacked containers that were placed over the summer, saying he couldn’t wait for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to award the contracts it had announced for work to fill the gaps in the border wall in the Yuma area.
The Bureau of Reclamation also demanded in last week’s letter that no new containers be placed to avoid potential conflicts with the federal contracts.
Migrants nevertheless have continued to avoid the recently erected barriers by going around them, including through the Cocopah Indian Reservation.
“The lack of coordination among the federal agencies with jurisdiction on the southwest border demonstrates that states like Arizona, cannot rely on the federal government to ensure its security,” Clark said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.