US government asks Arizona to remove border containers

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Cocopah Indian Tribe welcomes the federal government’s call for the state of Arizona to remove a series of double-stacked shipping containers that fill gaps in the wall along the U.S. border -Mexican, claiming they are unlicensed and violating US law.

The Bureau of Reclamation sent the letter last week, asking that existing containers near the desert town of Yuma be removed and no new ones placed. The letter says the office wants to avoid conflicts with two federal contracts already awarded and two more pending to fill two gaps in the border wall near the Morelos Dam in the Yuma region.

“The unauthorized placement of these containers constitutes a violation of federal law and an intrusion against the United States,” the letter states. “This trespass harms federal lands and resources and impedes Reclamation’s ability to fulfill its mission.”

There was no immediate response Monday from Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s office, but he has said in the past that he would remove the containers if the U.S. government begins construction to fill the gaps.

The tribe complained last month that the state of Arizona acted against their will by placing 42 of the double piles on their land near Yuma to stop illegal border crossings in an area that has become a hotspot. major entry for migrants.

“We believe the Bureau is taking necessary and appropriate action to resolve this issue,” the Cocopah Tribe said in a statement distributed Monday. “Beyond that, we will continue to work side-by-side with local, state and federal law enforcement to secure the border.”

Ducey ordered the installation of more than 100 double-stack containers that were placed over the summer, saying he couldn’t wait for US Customs and Border Protection to award the contracts she announced for work to fill gaps in the border wall in the border area.

Migrants nevertheless continued to avoid the recently erected barriers by circumventing them, including through the Cocopah Indian reservation.

The border wall promoted by former President Donald Trump continues to be a major issue for Republican politicians hoping to show support for border security.

President Joe Biden halted construction of the wall on his first day in office, leaving billions of dollars in work unfinished but still under contract. Trump worked late in his term to reach more than 450 miles (720 kilometers), or nearly a quarter of the border.

The Biden administration has made some exceptions for small projects in areas deemed unsafe to cross, including the Yuma gaps.

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AP writer Elliot Spagat contributed reporting from San Diego.

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