Administration

Biden administration demands Arizona remove shipping containers in gaps along border

File photo - Shipping containers stacked two high fill a gap in the 30-foot-high bollard border fence near the Yuma Levee Road and Morelos Dam, Friday afternoon, Oct. 14, 2022, near Yuma, Ariz., where migrants could cross into the United States.
Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via Associated Press
File photo – Shipping containers stacked two high fill a gap in the 30-foot-high bollard border fence near the Yuma Levee Road and Morelos Dam, Friday afternoon, Oct. 14, 2022, near Yuma, Ariz., where migrants could cross into the United States.

The Biden administration on Friday demanded that Arizona remove several dozen shipping containers that the state placed in gaps along its southern border with Mexico.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a letter on Friday that several of the double-stacked shipping containers lay within its lands and those of the Cocopah Indian Tribe’s West Reservation without their permission, violating federal law and constituting trespassing.  

The bureau requested that the state remove the 80 shipping containers on its lands near Morelos Dam and another 42 containers on tribal lands, as well as halt the addition of new containers to federal or Indian trust lands.

The Bureau of Reclamation said U.S. Customs and Border Protection has awarded a contract to close two gaps on its lands near the dam and anticipates awarding another contract to close two other gaps in the area, noting that it demanded the containers’ removal so the project can continue “without unnecessary delay.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) began moving shipping containers to the state’s southern border in August to “close the gaps in Arizona’s southern border wall, regardless of location.”

The move came just days after the Biden administration announced its plans to end former President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. The “Remain in Mexico” policy required that asylum-seekers remain in Mexico while awaiting hearings in U.S. immigration court.

Friday’s letter reflects an ongoing battle between the Biden administration and Republican governors along the southern border over immigration. Ducey has joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in busing thousands of migrants from the border to Democratic-led cities in the north in protest President Biden’s border policies.

While Biden has rebuffed Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, he appears to have embraced another Trump-era immigration policy — Title 42. The Biden administration last week expanded Title 42, which blocks migrants from seeking asylum, to apply to Venezuelan migrants. The move was coupled by a new program that allows 24,000 Venezuelan migrants to gain entry to the U.S. via sponsorship.

Tags Arizona Arizona Biden Biden administration Cocopah Indian Tribe West Reservation Doug Ducey Doug Ducey Greg Abbott immigration Joe Biden Remain in Mexico policy Ron DeSantis Title 42 U.S. Bureau of Reclamation U.S. Customs and Border Protection US-Mexico border US-Mexico Border
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