The U.S. government on Wednesday sued the state of Arizona and Gov. Doug Ducey (R) over the placement of shipping containers along the border with Mexico, saying it is trespassing on federal lands.
The complaint, filed in U.S. district court, comes three weeks before the end of Ducey’s term on January 5. Gov-Elect Katie Hobbes (D) has said she opposes the construction of the double-stacked containers, which are topped with razor wire.
Ducey told U.S. officials earlier this week that Arizona is ready to help remove the containers, which he said were placed as a temporary barrier.
However, in a letter responding to news of the pending lawuit, the governor wrote Tuesday that the federal government “owes it to Arizonans and all Americans to release a timeline” as to when it will fill any remaining gaps in the permanent border wall as it announced it would a year ago.
The work placing up to 3,000 containers at a cost of $95 million is about one-third complete, but protesters concerned about its impact on the environment have held up work in recent days.
The Department of Justice complaint asks the court for Arizona to be ordered to halt placement and remove the containers along a remote eastern boundary between the state and Mexico.
Last week House Republicans, who take majority control January 3, released a sweeping agenda for 2023 including completing construction of the Trump Administration’s border wall, which the Biden Administration has put on pause.