The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs has refused to remove over a hundred double-stacked shipping containers it placed in gaps along its southern border with Mexico, despite the federal government alleging that the containers are a “trespass against the United States.”
Around 122 containers were placed along the border in Yuma County in line with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s orders back in August, including 80 wire-reinforced containers that were placed on bureau lands and 42 on Cocopah Indian Tribe lands, according to federal authorities.
In a letter addressed to Arizona Homeland Security Director Tim Roemer and Arizona Division of Emergency Management Director Allen Clark on Oct. 13, the U.S. Department of the Interior claimed that the 122 containers that were sitting within its lands were a violation of U.S. law.
The containers being placed on the gaps in Yuma’s wall are also “harming federal lands,” while “impeding reclamation’s ability to perform its mission,” the letter stated.
In its letter, the federal government also demanded that no new containers be placed; claiming that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been awarded a contract to close two gaps in the border barrier near the Morelos Dam in the Yuma.
However, in a responding letter on Oct. 18, Arizona Director of Emergency Management Allen Clark pushed back on all the claims made by the Biden administration and refused to remove the containers.
‘Illegal Immigration, Criminal Activity Exploiting Border’
“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,” Clark wrote in the letter.
“Your letter incorrectly claims Arizona has trespassed against the United States,” it continues. “The State of Arizona is committed to working with all of our federal partners, including the BOR, to ensure the security of our state and protection of public and private lands … However to date, Arizona has not seen any action by the federal government to do so and was therefore required to take its own action.”
Clark added that the containers would remain in place until specific details regarding construction are provided.
Yuma is Arizona’s busiest illegal border crossing area.
The exchange of letters comes as tensions have soared between the Biden administration and Republican-led border states over immigration policies that have seen an influx of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the United States.
Ducey had ordered the containers be put up in August as the state could no longer wait for the Biden administration to build a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as it had promised to in an effort to help stem the flow of illegal aliens coming through Yuma.
Apprehensions of illegal aliens have not seen a decline since the shipping containers were placed in the gaps on Yuma’s wall, County Supervisor Jonathan Lines told NBC affiliate KYMA. However, the number of “gotaways” has decreased.
“The number of known gotaways is down. It used to be 3,000 a month, now it’s at 1,000, so that’s a significant reduction,” Lines said.