Arizona and its GOP Governor Doug Ducey are being sued by the federal government for building a temporary wall made of shipping containers at the border with Mexico in their effort to suppress the stronger-than-ever wave of illegal migrants entering the US, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
The Justice Department filed the lawsuit accusing Arizona of trespassing on federal land after a two-week standoff between protesters and construction crews, demanding immediate injunctive relief prohibiting the state from continuing work on the wall.
The complaint has been filed in the US District Court for the District of Arizona.
Building on federal land requires permits or authority that Arizona doesn’t have so the complaint argues that the state is damaging the United States by unlawfully placing and refusing to remove the shipping containers from lands the US owns or holds easements over.
Gov. Ducey issued the executive order telling the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to fill in gaps along the border with shipping containers in August.
According to the lawsuit, the federal government has been battling with Arizona ever since to get them removed and to compel it to compensate the US for anything it needs to take to undo its actions.
The DOJ argues that during the installation of the shipping containers, degraded the habitat of species listed under the Endangered Species Act, cut down or removed scores of trees, clogged drainages, and even blocked streams and washes along the border, hence substantially curtailing the US Forest Service’s ability to access border areas.
The lawsuit, which Ducey’s office has dismissed as based on a series of unfounded and inaccurate claims, states that Arizona also indicated it’ll continue to trespass on federal lands and install additional shipping containers.
The letter from Ducey’s office also pointed out that the key public safety risk and environmental harm has come from the federal government’s inaction to secure the US border, stressing that it has been trying to work with the federal government to fix its border wall since December 2021, when the DHS announced a plan to fill the gaps.