Using shipping containers to plug gaps in the U.S.–Mexico border wall violates federal law, a Biden administration official told top Arizona officials in a recent letter.
“The unauthorized placement of those containers constitutes a violation of federal law and is a trespass against the United States,” Jacklynn Gould, a regional director for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, told Arizona Homeland Security Director Tim Roemer and Arizona Division of Emergency Management Director Allen Clark in the missive. “That trespass is harming federal lands and resources and impeding Reclamation’s ability to perform its mission.”
Gould cited federal law that restricts public conduct on Bureau of Reclamation lands.
She asked officials to not place any additional shipping containers on federal lands or lands within the boundaries of Indian reservations, and said federal officials want to “discuss a way forward and requests your cooperation in the removal of the containers.”
Roemer, Clark, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey did not respond to requests for comment.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection awarded a contract to close two gaps in the border barrier, according to the letter.
C.J. Karamargin, a spokesperson for Ducey, told the Arizona Republic that state officials aren’t acting until they see the contract.
Some 122 containers were placed along the border in Yuma County, including 80 on bureau lands and 42 on Cocopah Indian Tribe lands, according to federal authorities.
Ducey, a Republican, ordered the containers to be placed in August.
“Arizona has had enough,” Ducey said at the time. “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.”
Yuma County Sheriff’s Office deputies said that the containers have helped prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States.