(Headline USA) Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will take down a makeshift wall made of shipping containers at the Mexico border, settling a lawsuit and political tussle with the U.S. government, which claimed the state was trespassing on federal lands.
The Biden administration and the Republican governor entered into an agreement that Arizona will cease installing the containers in any national forest, according to court documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
The agreement also calls for Arizona to remove the containers that were already installed in the remote San Rafael Valley, in southeastern Cochise County, by Jan. 4 without damaging any natural resources. State agencies will have to consult with U.S. Forest Service representatives.
The move comes in spite of an anticipated lapse in Title 42, the Trump era safeguard that facilitated the return of border-hopping illegals into Mexico as they awaited their so-called asylum hearings.
The Biden administration’s active efforts to end the policy are expected to bring an even greater flood of illegals across the border in the days and weeks to come, with little recourse for deporting them except for overburdened border areas to ship them to blue enclaves like Martha’s Vineyard and Rehoboth Beach.
Even before the lawsuit, he wanted the federal government to say when it would fill any remaining gaps in the permanent border wall, as it announced it would a year ago.
“For more than a year, the federal government has been touting their effort to resume construction of a permanent border barrier. Finally, after the situation on our border has turned into a full blown crisis, they’ve decided to act,” C.J. Karamargin, Ducey’s spokesman said. “Better late than never.”
“Final details are still being worked out on how much it will cost and when it will start,” Karamargin told The Associated Press.
The resolution comes two weeks before Hobbs, who opposes the construction, is expected to take over as governor, pending the outcome of a vote-fraud lawsuit from her GOP challenger, Kari Lake. Hobbs has voiced her support for the Biden administration’s existing open-borders policies.
The federal government filed a lawsuit last week against Ducey’s administration on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service.
The federal government “owes it to Arizonans and all Americans to release a timeline,” Ducey wrote last week, responding to news of the pending federal lawsuit.
The work placing up to 3,000 containers at a cost of $95 million was about a third complete, but protesters concerned about its impact on the environment held up work in recent days.
Meanwhile, limits on illegals hoping to enter the U.S. had been set to expire Wednesday before conservative-leaning states sought the Supreme Court’s help to keep them in place.
The Biden administration has asked the court to lift the Trump-era restrictions, but not before Christmas. It’s not clear when the court might rule on the matter.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press