Biden Administration sues Arizona governor over attempt to fill in border wall

December 16, 2022

The Biden Administration sued outgoing Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) on Wednesday, December  14, over his construction of a barrier made of double-stacked shipping containers along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.

 According to a report by Axios, Ducey launched the effort to fill in gaps in the Trump Administration’s border wall amid a sustained surge in border crossings—and has continued the project as a final, symbolic act before he leaves office in January. Federal authorities have said, however, that the barrier is unlawful since it is erected on U.S. land.

The new lawsuit asks the court to order Arizona to stop building the barrier and remove the containers in the San Rafael Valley—citing operational and environmental concerns. Arizona “is trespassing on federal lands,” the complaint states.

“In installing shipping containers on National Forest System lands, Arizona has widened roads and cleared lands for staging areas … cut down or removed scores of trees, clogged drainages, and degraded the habitat of species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

“The shipping containers are blocking approximately 30 naturally occurring ephemeral watercourses, which will interrupt natural watershed patterns, erode soil in the immediate area, and damage vegetation and forage.”

Arizona’s installation also has “detrimentally impacted” law enforcement functions and “interfered with the Forest Service’s ability to carry out its official duties by, among other things, causing the National Forest System lands to be occupied by armed private security guards,” the suit alleges.

The Biden Administration is seeking compensation to fix any damages along the border.

Research contact: @axios