Under pressure from the Biden administration, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is halting construction of a wall fashioned from shipping containers at the US-Mexico border.
The Republican governor reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in which Arizona agreed to stop construction of the border wall on national forest lands, according to court documents filed Thursday with the US District Court in Phoenix.
The agreement stipulates that Arizona will remove all previously installed shipping containers and associated equipment, materials, vehicles and other objects in the US Border Patrol Yuma Sector, without damaging US natural resources. To do so, Arizona will work in conjunction with officials from the US Forest Service and Customs and Border Protection.
The agreement was reached one week after the Biden administration filed a lawsuit against Ducey on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service.
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ARIZONA SHERIFF CALLS ON GOV. DUCEY TO STOP SENDING SHIPPING CONTAINERS TO BORDER FOR MAKESHIFT WALL
It comes two weeks before Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs will assume office. Hobbs has called the shipping container wall a political stunt and a “waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Before the lawsuit, Ducey told federal officials that Arizona was ready to help remove the containers. He said they were placed as a temporary barrier. But 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.
Read the latest court filing:
ARIZONA FIRES BACK AT BIDEN ADMIN’S DEMAND IT REMOVE SHIPPING CONTAINER FILLING GAPS AT BORDER
The governor’s office emphasized the shipping containers were always intended to be a temporary solution to the border crisis and said the Biden administration has agreed to take steps to continue barrier construction in the area.
“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. Better late than never,” Ducey spokeperson CJ Karamargin told Fox News.
“We’re working with the federal government to ensure they can begin construction of this barrier with the urgency this problem demands,” Karamargin added.
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 asylum seekers hoping to enter the US 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.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.