- The US government sued Arizona governor Doug Ducey and the state.
- It was over the placement of shipping containers as a barrier on the border with Mexico.
- Accused of trespassing on federal lands.
The complaint filed in the US district court comes three weeks before the Republican governor steps aside for Democratic governor-elect Katie Hobbs, who has said she opposes the construction.
Trespassing On Federal Land
The complaint by the US justice department asks the court that Arizona be ordered to halt placement and remove the containers in remote San Rafael valley in easternmost Cochise county. “Officials from Reclamation and the Forest Service have notified Arizona that it is trespassing on federal lands,” the complaint reads. The justice department sued on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service it oversees.
The US agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, said in a statement from Washington that the project “is not an effective barrier, it poses safety hazards to both the public and those working in the area and has significantly damaged public land”. Ducey told US officials earlier this week that Arizona stands ready to help remove the containers, which he says were placed as a temporary barrier.
Border security was a focus of Donald Trump’s presidency and remains a key issue for Republican politicians. The complaint was applauded by US representative Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat who represents southern Arizona. He called the project an “illegal junkyard border wall”.
Russ McSpadden, south-west conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the federal complaint “should be the beginning of the end of Doug Ducey’s lawless assault on protected national forestlands and endangered wildlife”.
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