Arizona filling U.S.-Mexico border wall gap this weekend

"Arizona has had enough," Gov. Doug Ducey said while ordering the construction to begin.

Updated: August 13, 2022 - 12:56am

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order on Friday directing the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to fill the gaps in the Yuma border wall starting immediately.

"Arizona has had enough," Ducey said in a press release. "We can't wait any longer. The Biden administration's lack of urgency on border security is a dereliction of duty. For the last two years, Arizona has made every attempt to work with Washington to address the crisis on our border. Time and time again we've stepped in to clean up their mess. Arizonans can't wait any longer for the federal government to deliver on their delayed promises."

The Executive Order came days after the Biden administration abandoned the Remain in Mexico policy.

The governor's office called the Biden administration's decision "misguided." It added that the White House has failed to secure the border, allowing transnational criminal organizations to bring more drugs over the southern border.

"Our border communities are being used as the entryway to the United States, overwhelming law enforcement, hospitals, nonprofits and residents," Ducey said in the release. "It's our responsibility to protect our citizens and law enforcement from this unprecedented crisis. With the resources and manpower in the right places, our Border Patrol and law enforcement will be better equipped to do their jobs well and prevent cartels from exploiting our communities. That's exactly what our barrier mission will do."

Arizona will use 60 double-stacked shipping containers reinforced with concertina wire at the top to secure this vulnerable part of the border.

The double-stacked containers with wire will reach 22 feet high. The governor's office says the state will use 800-pound, 9-by-40-feet containers. For reference, the Trump administration's border walls were 30 feet tall.

Construction to fill this 1,000-foot gap began Friday morning. Emergency management contractor Ashbritt is building the barrier. A 25-man team will likely complete the project over the weekend.

The project will cost the state $6 million.

"National security starts with border security. Biden's border crisis deteriorates daily while the White House is silent," Jonathan Lines, Yuma County Supervisor, said in the press release. "Border communities like Yuma bear the burden of a broken border while narcotics poison our youth, human smuggling rises and mass amounts of migrants wear on our nonprofits. Beyond that, the seizure of counterfeit products at our ports of entry affects American businesses. Governor Ducey has been a consummate partner, coordinating and leading state and local resources to do what the federal government won't: secure the border."

The Yuma Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border has been busy over the past year. It saw 235,230 migrant encounters from October 2021 to June 2022, according to a press release from the governor's office.

"The Yuma community does not have the infrastructure to handle thousands of people crossing the border in need of food, shelter and medical services," Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls said in the press release. "The surge of migrants the federal government has allowed to trek over the border has the grave potential to greatly impact and strain our community. Washington must send a clear message that this is not the way to immigrate to our country. Too many migrants make the treacherous journey that puts their lives in danger and exposes them to exploitation by cartels. Yuma has experienced the worst of the border crisis. We're grateful to Governor Ducey for ingraining himself in this issue and finding solutions."

Drugs have also made their way across the border. So far this fiscal year, more than 2,400 pounds of fentanyl have been seized in Arizona's sectors. Fentanyl overdoses are now the leading cause of death for people 19 and younger in Pima County, according to the governor's office.

"The White House lacks a sense of urgency and detail while the border crisis gets worse every day. In Arizona, we put our money where our mouth is," Tim Roemer, Arizona Department of Homeland Security Director and the state's Chief Information Security Officer, said in the press release. "The brave men and women of law enforcement need this support so they can conduct their important work catching the people who don't want to get caught and stopping lethal drugs from coming over the border. Governor Ducey once again showed he'll take action to secure the border and give law enforcement every resource in the state's power."