Gov. Ducey sues federal agencies over makeshift barriers

Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Friday that he is suing federal agencies over his makeshift wall.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Friday that he is suing federal agencies over his makeshift wall.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 4:11 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — On Monday, the federal government told Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to remove the shipping containers at the border, a call appreciated by the Cocopah Indian Tribe. On Friday afternoon, Ducey’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against multiple people across three federal agencies.

“Arizona is taking action to protest on behalf of our citizens,” Ducey said in a press release. “With this lawsuit, we’re pushing back against efforts by federal bureaucrats to reverse the progress we’ve made. The safety and security of Arizona and its citizens must not be ignored. Arizona is going to do the job that Joe Biden refuses to do — secure the border in any way we can.”

The defendants listed in the lawsuit are:

  • Randy Moore, Chief of the United States Forest Service
  • Camille Calimlim Touton, Commissioner of the United States Bureau of Reclamation
  • Thomas J. Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture
  • United States Forest Service
  • United States Bureau of Reclamation

The Bureau of Reclamation also demanded in an Oct. 14 letter that no new containers be placed. It said the bureau wants to prevent conflicts with two federal contracts that have been awarded and two more still pending to fill border wall gaps near the Morelos Dam in the Yuma, Arizona, area.

“The unauthorized placement of those containers constitutes a violation of federal law and is a trespass against the United States,” the letter states. “That trespass is harming federal lands and resources and impeding Reclamation’s ability to perform its mission.”

The governor said the federal government wants to remove 130 containers to replace them with “temporary” barriers. “Why replace temporary barriers with more temporary barriers?” Ducey said. “Just another example of the federal government bureaucracy and out-of-control spending.”

It’s been more than two months since Gov. Ducey signed an executive order for the construction of a $13 million makeshift barrier, which the Cocopah Indian Tribe said to the Associated Press directly affects them. In late August, the tribe wrote a letter to state officials and said the containers block have of a two-lane road, closing a “vital evacuation route.”

“The integrity of the road itself has subsequently been damaged by the heavy machinery that was used in placing the shipping containers” and created the danger for first responders to get stuck, Michael Fila with the Office of Management said in an email shared with The Associated Press. “We had made it clear before that we did not want the containers on our land.”

See the full lawsuit below.