Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey took measures to fill in gaps at the border near Yuma last week by stacking a line of shipping containers, but portions of these new barriers have already been knocked over.
“We clearly struck a nerve,” C.J. Karamargin, Ducey’s communications director, said, according to Arizona’s Family News.
“Someone doesn’t like what we’re doing. Someone obviously doesn’t like the obstacles we are putting in their way,” Karamargin added.
Officials do not think the shipping containers were knocked over due to the weather, but that cartels likely had something to do with it, KTAR News 92.3 FM reported.
Univision journalist Claudia Ramos tweeted pictures on Monday of the containers on their sides.
It had been just one day since Ducey announced that the first gap in the border had been filled with the containers, Arizona’s Family News reported.
Ayer el gobernador @DougDucey anunció que la primera brecha en la frontera de Yuma donde se están utilizando contenedores de carga para cerrar los espacios estaba terminada. Esta mañana así amanecieron algunos contenedores. pic.twitter.com/6eZdxz1Nje
— Claudia Ramos (@ClauRamosNews) August 15, 2022
Ducey originally announced the plan to fill border gaps last week.
The containers were supposed to be linked, bolted in place and welded shut. That work had not yet been completed on the containers that were found on their sides, however, as the governor’s office clarified in a tweet.
Let’s be clear: this incident took place prior to completion of placing and securing the containers to the ground. After fully securing them, the containers are linked together, bolted in place and welded shut. 1/
— The 9th Floor (@9thFloorAZ) August 17, 2022
Though some said it was the weather that moved the containers, Karamargin said that it was “highly unlikely” that the 8,800-pound containers were blown onto their sides by weather.
Karamargin also added that U.S. Border Patrol first notified the state on Sunday evening about the containers’ movement.
Border Patrol then asked the state not to respond to the area right away due to “heavy activity in the area.”
But despite one set of containers being knocked over, Ducey’s office announced that a second gap along the border will be filled “within days,” Arizona’s Family News reported.
The Yuma sector of the U.S.-Mexico border is a high-activity area of the border, even though much of the 126 miles along the border is desert, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported.
“This area consists of vast open deserts, rocky mountain ranges, large drifting sand dunes and the ever changing Colorado River,” CBP noted.
But the harsh terrain has not deterred immigrants from crossing through the Yuma sector and the number of people coming across the border has soared in the past few years.
At the beginning of 2022, data showed that the number of migrant encounters in the Yuma sector had increased by 2,000 percent since 2020, KSAZ-TV reported.
Environmentalist Myles Traphagen, who has been mapping ecological damage from the border wall, said at the end of July that closing gaps in the border likely won’t deter the flow of people.
Traphagen noted that the Yuma region has “become the new Ellis Island for Arizona, with people arriving there from countries as disparate as Ethiopia, Cuba, Russia, Ukraine, India, Colombia and Nicaragua.”
“People have traveled halfway around the globe on planes, trains and automobiles,” he added, “so to expect that closing four small gaps is going to make them turn around and book a return flight on Air Ethiopia is sheer fallacy.”
The Biden administration had actually authorized the completion of the border wall in the Yuma region in July.
But Ducey decided not to wait on the federal government to fill the gaps and instead took the matter into his own hands.
“The federal government has committed to doing this, but we cannot wait for their action,” said Katie Ratlief, Ducey’s deputy chief of staff, according to the Associated Press.
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