OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
One of GOP Gov. Doug Ducey’s last official acts in office will be to undo a significant border security measure he undertook as a means of forcing the Biden administration to take action amid record-high illegal border crossings and drug smuggling.
Earlier this year, Ducey made good on a pledge to begin filling wall gaps in his state’s border with Mexico using double-stacked shipping containers topped with barbed wire, and he managed to plug a significant section using that method. After being warned to take it down because he did not have the authority to construct the border on federal lands, Ducey still refused to budge. However, after the administration sued, it now looks like Ducey is caving and will comply with the administration’s order.
That said, it appears as though Ducey managed to get something from the administration in exchange, per Fox News:
The Republican governor reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in which Arizona agreed to stop construction of the border wall on national forest lands, according to court documents filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
The agreement stipulates that Arizona will remove all previously installed shipping containers and associated equipment, materials, vehicles and other objects in the U.S. Border Patrol Yuma Sector, without damaging U.S. natural resources. To do so, Arizona will work in conjunction with officials from the U.S. Forest Service and Customs and Border Protection.
The agreement comes one week after the DoJ filed suit against Arizona over the containers. It also comes around two weeks before Democratic gubernatorial-elect Katie Hobbs takes office; she has called the barrier a “waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Before reaching a settlement, Ducey had said he would remove the barriers at some point because they were a temporary solution to the problem. He added that he wanted the Biden administration to provide a firm timeline for when the federal government would plug the gaps as announced nearly a year ago. He added that the administration has now agreed to continue border wall construction in the affected areas.
“For more than a year, the federal government has been touting their effort to resume construction of a permanent border barrier. Finally, after the situation on our border has turned into a full-blown crisis, they’ve decided to act. Better late than never,” Ducey spokesperson CJ Karamargin told Fox News.
“We’re working with the federal government to ensure they can begin construction of this barrier with the urgency this problem demands,” Karamargin added.
The effort to place some 3,000 containers at the cost of around $95 million was about one-third complete, the network noted further.
Biden has frequently been criticized and blamed for creating the situation along the border by reversing Trump-era policies that Border Patrol officials called some of the most effective in modern history.
This week, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham tore into Biden for his “hands-off” approach toward addressing and solving the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
During an interview on Fox News with host Brian Kilmeade, the GOP senator slammed Biden for refusing to visit the border so he could see first-hand how serious the problem is.
“His policies are not working at the border, and Title 42 is about to expire. President Biden could reinstate Title 42 deportation authority with a stroke of a pen,” Graham said. “Every Democrat voted against extending Title 42 in the Senate; every Republican voted for it. When Title 42 goes away as a deportation tool, you are going to double the number of illegal immigrants coming into the country in about a week.
“We are going to have 100,000 illegals coming across the border a week, in about a week, and he has done nothing to fix the problem; he has never been to the border. It is so unconscionable for him not to go to the border and listen to the agents and people trying to control the border, what life is like along our southern border,” Graham added.
“The fact that he doesn’t go shows to me he’s disconnected and he doesn’t give a damn. If he really gave a damn about what’s going on at the border — yeah, he doesn’t have to drop f-bombs at the White House,” he said, referring to a book that claims Biden was cursing at the White House over illegal immigration in the early stages of his administration.
“Get your ass out of the White House and go to the border! Get your ass out of the White House and go to the border,” Graham snapped.